PARIS (Reuters) - France’s financial market watchdog said on Wednesday it had blocked Altice’s buyout offer for SFR on the grounds it lacked information for minority shareholders to judge it.
The AMF watchdog blocked on Tuesday Altice’s offer to buy the SFR shares it did not already own in a move Altice’s CEO described as “totally incomprehensible”.
Explaining its decision a day later, the AMF said that Luxembourg-based Altice had provided “imprecise” information about how SFR would compensate its mother company that was needed by minority shareholders to analyze the offer.
The AMF said the offer was not rejected because of the exchange offer itself, even though it was at the lowest point in a range an independent appraiser came up with.
“In this context, it is therefore not possible to consider that the information provided to the minority shareholders, including the basis of the selected exchange ratio, is complete, intelligible and consistent” with French rules, the AMF said in a statement.
Altice, a telecoms and media group controlled by Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, had wanted to simplify the group’s structure by exchanging 8 Altice class A shares for 5 SFR Group shares for the 22.25 percent of SFR shares it does not own.
Altice CEO Michel Combes told Reuters after the deal was blocked that the company would move on, although he added it might also appeal the decision.
Reporting by Jean-Michel Belot and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Adrian Croft