UPDATE 1-Altice’s SFR buyout offer delayed by at least two weeks -source

(Adds details, background)

By Mathieu Rosemain and Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS, Sept 20 Altice’s all-share
buyout offer for SFR shares it does not already own
will be postponed by at least two weeks because of a delay in
regulatory approvals, a source close to the matter said on
Tuesday.

Altice, the Luxembourg-based telecoms and media group
controlled by Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, has said
it wants to simplify the group’s structure following its rapid
expansion through acquisitions in Europe and the United States
in the last three years.

The French markets watchdog AMF is now expected to announce
its decision on Altice’s exchange offer for the outstanding
22.25 percent of SFR, France’s second-biggest telecoms
operators, in the week of Oct. 3, the source said.

Altice had first expected to get the regulatory go-ahead on
Tuesday, but additional documentation has been requested, the
source said.

Under its initial schedule presented to investors on Sept.
5, Altice predicted its public offer would extend from Sept. 22
to Oct. 20. The additional delay needed for the release of AMF’s
decision will postpone the formal public offer by the same
amount of time.

The French regulator declined to comment.

Altice said on Sept. 5 that it would offer eight of its
class A common shares for five SFR Group shares.

The bid corresponded at the time to a value per SFR Group
share of 24.72 euros, a 2.6 percent premium to the closing price
on Sept. 2. SFR closed up 3.3 percent on Tuesday at 26.1 euros a
share.

In a letter sent to AMF last week, the French fund CIAM, an
SFR minority shareholder, complained about the terms of the
buyout offer.

SFR, the second largest operator in France with a turnover
of 11 billion euros in 2015 has a market cap of about 11.45
billion euros ($12.78 billion) according to Reuters data,
valuing the 22.25 percent stake at about 2.5 billion euros.

Altice said it reserved the right to request from French
market regulator AMF a squeeze-out and delist SFR shares within
a three-month period from the closing date of its offer in the
event that it holds at least 95 percent of the voting rights in
SFR.
($1 = 0.8957 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by
Greg Mahlich)

Source: Reuters

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