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PPF Group raises O2 CR stake, moves to delist shares

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PPF Group, the Czech investment firm, has increased its stake in O2 Czech Republic and now wants to take the firm private.

The deal is being executed through the PPF Telco B.V. subsidiary and saw PPF's holdings in O2 rise by more than 19 million shares, taking it stake from 83.58% and 90.01%.

In a statement released today, PPF said: "As the more than 90% holder in the share capital of O2 CR, PPF announces its intention to initiate a squeeze-out procedure of the remaining holders in O2 CR through a mandatory tender offer for the shares in the telecommunications operator held by these remaining minority shareholders."

It's the first such transaction to be carried out in the Czech capital market.

O2 Czech Republic is the country's fourth-largest company with a market cap of $3.81 billion. However, the volume of trading on the Prague Stock Exchange is declining.

PPF said its decision to offer to buy O2 CR shares through a reverse book building process "reflects the fact that the volume of trade of these securities on the Prague Stock Exchange has been declining sharply for some time. This year, the average daily trade volume amounts to CZK 9.3 million, which corresponds to the market liquidity of very small stock, not a company listed on the main market of the Prague Stock Exchange.

"Transactions with O2 CR shares in volumes of at least CZK tens of millions, which would correspond to the importance of this company, are currently not feasible in the normal stock exchange trading regime. For comparison, in 2011 the average daily volume of trades in O2 CR shares were CZK 134 million. Five years later, it had fallen to CZK 33 million."

Shareholders will retain a right to a 2020 dividend and share premium pay out and PPF banka has been appointed as the sole bookrunner.

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