Wednesday, 22 September 2021

France’s Iliad could be delisted following billionaire buyout

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Friday 30 July 21

The telecoms and media group’s controlling stakeholder, billionaire Xavier Niel, is making a full takeover offer for the company

Today, billionaire Xavier Niel has announced that he intends to takeover Iliad, the French telecoms group he founded 22 years ago, and delist it from the stock market. Currently, Niel owns around 71% of Iliad’s shares and will seek to purchase the remaining 29% for …

Today, billionaire Xavier Niel has announced that he intends to takeover Iliad, the French telecoms group he founded 22 years ago, and delist it from the stock market.

Currently, Niel owns around 71% of Iliad’s shares and will seek to purchase the remaining 29% for  €182 per share, a roughly 50% premium on the average share price over the last month. In total, the deal would value the business at around €10.85 billion.
 
The company’s board of directors have already agreed to the sale.
 
“I founded Iliad in 1999 and I’m very proud of what the group has grown into and the value it has created for all of its shareholders,” said Niel. “Iliad is now entering a new phase in its development, requiring rapid changes and major investments which will be easier to undertake as an unlisted company.”
 
“Our ambition for Iliad is to accelerate to become a leader in telecommunications in Europe,” he said.
 
Iliad share value has soared at the news of the potential sale, climbing 62% on the announcement.
 
Iliad is well known in France for its low-cost phone deals which initially gave them a significant edge in the highly competitive French mobile market. However, a recent price war between the nation’s operators has seen Iliad’s profitability shrink, with the company’s share value dropping by a third since the start of the year. 
 
Niel is not the only billionaire availing himself of the low valuations of listed telecoms firms in recent years. Patrick Drahi notably took his Altice Europe group private in 2020, before purchasing a 12.1% stake in the UK’s BT for £2 billion in 2021.
 
 
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