Friday, 23 June 2017

Unnamed bidder tops AT&T's Straight Path offer

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Tuesday 25 April 17

U.S. operator has five working days to meet or exceed new bid from 'multinational telco'.

An unnamed telco on Tuesday made a $104.64 per share bid for Straight Path, topping AT&T's earlier offer of $95.63. In a statement, Straight Path, which holds nationwide 28-GHz and 39-GHz spectrum, said it considered the new bid superior to AT&T's, and gave the operator five working days to meet or exceed it…

An unnamed telco on Tuesday made a $104.64 per share bid for Straight Path, topping AT&T's earlier offer of $95.63.

In a statement, Straight Path, which holds nationwide 28-GHz and 39-GHz spectrum, said it considered the new bid superior to AT&T's, and gave the operator five working days to meet or exceed it.

Straight Path did not reveal the new suitor's identity, only that it is a multinational telecommunications company.

Sources cited in a recent Reuters report claimed that Verizon was considering mounting a challenge to AT&T's Straight Path takeover. Straight Path admitted at the time that a third party was evaluating making an offer, but did not disclose a name.

"Straight Path is not permitted to enter into the bidder's merger agreement or to change its recommendation in favour of the AT&T transaction unless, at the end of the negotiating period, the Straight Path board determines that the bidder's offer continues to constitute a superior proposal," the company said.

AT&T agreed to acquire Straight Path earlier in April in an all-stock deal worth $1.6 billion, including liabilities and outstanding settlement payments owed by Straight Path to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The new offer is also an all-stock affair, with an enterprise value of $1.8 billion. It expires on 3 May.

If AT&T bows out of the race, Straight Path is required to pay it a $38 million break-up fee.

Whoever wins will gain an enviable portfolio of nationwide millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum, which is expected to become vitally important when it comes to delivering bandwidth-hungry 5G services.

"At this time, Straight Path remains subject to the AT&T merger agreement and the Straight Path board has not changed its recommendation in support of the AT&T transaction," Straight Path said.

"There can be no assurances that a transaction with the bidder will result from the bidder's offer, or that any other transaction will be consummated. There can be no assurance that AT&T will seek to negotiate with Straight Path or will make a revised offer," the company added.

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