Iliad heads to €10bn victory Niel squeezes out last sharehol

Iliad heads to €10bn victory Niel squeezes out last shareholders

06 October 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Xavier Niel is just days away from owning 100% of Iliad, the company he is taking private for €10 billion.

He has already acquired 96.40% of the capital and 96.17% voting rights of the company and is set to squeeze out the remaining shareholders over the next few days.

Each will get €182 per share, exactly the same as he offered every other shareholder at the end of July.

His banks, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, have told Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), the French financial markets regulator, of their intention to go ahead with the squeeze out. Niel is well above the 90% threshold needed for such action.

Back in July, Niel (pictured) said that privatisation of Iliad, which he founded in 1995 as the first ISP in France, will enable “rapid transformations and significant investments … more easily completed as an unlisted company”. He said: “Our ambition for Iliad prompts us to accelerate its development to make it a telecommunications leader in Europe.”

Iliad, which operates in France under the Free brand, last year bought Polish telco Play, and also owns Iliad Italia. Niel separately owns Irish incumbent Eir.

Shares in Iliad have already been suspended on France’s Euronext market, but the exchange will delist them on 14 October following the squeeze out.

Founded in 1999, Iliad had sales in 2020 of €5.9 billion, 10.1% up on the year before. The company has 13.3 million mobile subscribers in France and 6.5 million fixed subscribers.

In Italy, where the company took over spectrum and infrastructure following Wind’s merger with Tre (Three) in 2018, it has 7.2 million mobile subscribers.

Play in Poland, founded in 2007 and acquired last year, has 15.4 million mobile subscribers.