In a statement, Eutelsat says: “Pursuant to market rumours, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) confirms that it has received an unsolicited, preliminary and non-binding proposal from Patrick Drahi in connection with a potential transaction on all of the company’s share capital. The relevant governance bodies of Eutelsat Communications have unanimously decided not to engage in discussions based on the terms of this proposal”.
Eutelsat has subsequently issued a second statement saying: “Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) confirms that the proposal received from Mr. Patrick Drahi – and rejected unanimously by the relevant governance bodies of the company – prices Eutelsat at €12.10 per share, all dividend attached”.
Earlier, quoting two sources familiar with the matter, Reuters had reported that Drahi was in talks to buy Eutelsat in a deal that would see one of his investment vehicles take direct control. It added that Drahi is working with banks on the project and that Eutelsat, in which the state investor Bpifrance has a 19.98% stake, has a market value of €2.3 billion. Significantly, the Reuters sources also said that Drahi has no plans to merge Eutelsat with his media and telecom assets and would keep the operator in a separate holding company.
Meanwhile, Les Echos reports that Drahi offered a bonus of almost 25% in the proposed transaction. Although Eutelsat considered this insufficient it remains open to the deal and the French government, which owns a combined total of 27% in the operator, would not veto it.
Aside from Altice, which operates in France, Portugal, Israel, Dominican Republic and the US, Drahi is the leading shareholder in BT Group, having recently acquired a 12.1% stake in the company.