Altice decides not to sell its activities in Portugal

By on 27.03.2021 at 14h01 Playback 2 min.

Due to a lack of satisfactory proposals, the Altice Europe group has given up selling its activities in Portugal.

The lack of real competition between suitors weighed on the discussions.

Philippe Wojazer

The Altice Europe group, founded and managed by businessman Patrick Drahi, has given up on its plan to sell its activities in Portugal because it did not receive proposals deemed sufficiently high from investment funds, three sources told Reuters. Altice was unable to agree in December on the valuation of these activities with the funds EQT and CVC Capital Partners, whose non-binding offers were well below the threshold of 7 billion euros set by Patrick Drahi to engage in negotiations, the sources said. The highest indicative bid was just over €6 billion and included a premium based on Altice Portugal’s dominance in its market, one of the sources said. The lack of real competition between suitors weighed on the talks, with most industrial players like Telefonica pulling out while private equity funds refused to engage in a one-upmanship for an asset that over the years has partially divested its fiber network and other critical infrastructure, the sources said. EQT and CVC refused to comment on the subject.

Read alsoWhy BFMTV and RMC (Altice Media) could not keep Jean-Jacques Bourdin

Altice denies

An Altice spokesperson said that the the group’s Portuguese assets “were not for sale and are not for sale”. Altice had already in the past denied any discussion of such a project. Altice had appointed Lazard last year to test the market’s appetite for its activities in Portugal but the group, whose main operations are in France, has never launched a formal sale process, its expectations in terms of price having immediately proved difficult to fill for most suitors.

The discussions were closed between the end of December and the beginning of January when the potential buyers been told the proposed sale was canceled “in the same informal way it was started,” the first source said. Via a new investment vehicle established in Great Britain, Altice increased its stake in BT in December to 18%. “Altice needs to sell assets to focus more on other markets like Britain,” the same source said. “The company has a set of assets that are constantly under review for possible disposal and the Portuguese unit was and still is one of them.”

(With Reuters)