Xavier Niel wants to withdraw his company Iliad from the Stock Exchange to get away from the pressure of the markets. For this, he must hold at least 90% of the capital of the parent company of Free before September 24, 2021. Today, it has reached 85.23%.
Xavier Niel, president and founder of Iliad, now holds 85.23% of the capital of the parent company of Free, the group said on Tuesday September 14, 2021. On July 30, he announced his intention to launch, via his holding company HoldCo II, a simplified public tender offer (OPA) on Iliad shares that he did not hold, with the aim of reaching at least 90% of the capital and then withdrawing his company from the Paris Stock Exchange . And this at a price of 182 euros per share, a premium of no less than 61% on the closing price of July 29. The operation, which could cost the businessman nearly 3.1 million euros, started on September 9 and is to be completed in twelve working days, i.e. September 24.
“If, at the end of the offer, the number of shares not presented in the offer does not represent more than 10% of the capital and voting rights of Iliad, HoldCo II will ask the AMF [Autorité des marchés financiers, NDLR] the implementation of a squeeze-out procedure “, Iliad notes.
Move away from market pressure
When announcing the takeover bid, Xavier Niel indicated that “Iliad’s new phase of development requires rapid transformations and significant investments which will be more easily carried out as an unlisted company”. Thomas Reynaud, director general of Iliad, had specified that the leaders of Iliad welcomed “very favorably” the procedure, which he also described as “growth process” to secure “Iliad’s strategic independence and the calm pursuit of our development plan based on significant investments in 5G and fiber”.
Like Patrick Drahi, who withdrew Altice from the Stock Exchange at the start of the year, Xavier Niel wishes to move away from the pressure of the markets, which, according to him, undervalue Iliad. In question, a gap between the short-term expectations of shareholders in terms of growth and heavy investments to be made in the long term on the telecoms side (5G and fiber).
The founder of Iliad has gradually increased in the capital of his company over the years. At the start of 2020, he held 72%, after reaching 52% in 2019 against an investment of 1.4 billion euros.
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