After finally signing the definitive agreement to buy a mobile telephony company SFR from Vivendi the other day, Patrick Drahi’s Altice today announced it has implemented an additional round of equity financing to help tidy up its balance sheet.
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Such is the high regard in which the company is held these days, that it has been able to rapidly issue 17.9 million of new common shares at a price of about US$ 69.22 (Euros 50.89) per share, for gross proceeds of about US$ 1.24 billion (Euros 911 million), before costs and expenses of the offering.
The new share offering, which was placed as an accelerated book-built offer, was managed by Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, and was priced at a discount of just over 10% to Altice’s recent one-year trading high, achieved earlier in June.
Altice, whose shares are listed on the Euronext Exchange in Amsterdam, will now have a total of almost 223 million common shares outstanding after giving effect to this new issue. In market trading this morning the company’s shares settled back a little, and are currently trading, as of the time of writing, at about US68.14 (Euros 50.1) per share. At this price Altice therefore currently will have a total market capitalization for its common equity of about US$15.2 billion (Euros 11.2 billion) once the new shares are admitted for trading on June 27th, 2014.
Proceeds of the offering will be used for shoring up the balance sheet, paying down some debt and to cover the moneys needed under Altice’s recent moves to buy-in some of the third party interests in Numericable, its French cable subsidiary which is acquiring SFR.
Specifically, two private equity firms Cinven and Carlyle Group recently sold their 14% stake in Numericable to Altice, for about US$719 million (Euros 529 million).
In addition, at the beginning of June Altice picked up another 2.6% stake in Numericable by exercising call options it held, costing it about US$166 million (Euros 122 million). Altice had earlier acquired, and has now exercised, these options from two other institutions, the private equity company Pechel and the Five Arrows Fund of the Rothschild group. After this transaction Altice owns a 40% position in Numericable, a holding that will eventually increase further under its current plans, after the merger with SFR is completed later this year.
The balance of funds from this offering will then be available to reduce indebtedness of Altice or for general corporate purposes.