27 Mar 2006
A Dutch court has suspended an attempt by Swedish telecoms group Tele2 to ride roughshod over minority shareholders resisting its EUR1.34 billion (USD1.61 billion) takeover of Dutch data carrier Versatel. Tele2 is proposing a statutory legal merger with the carrier to hoover up outstanding shares after its bid for the company fell short of the 95% acceptance threshold required under Dutch law to make the bid unconditional. The Swedish company may now have to improve its EUR2.20 a share offer and a shareholder meeting scheduled for 3 April has been postponed to allow for a fresh valuation of the business. Although the Tele2 offer is backed by 82% of investors, groups representing between 13% and 15% of its equity – including hedge fund Centaurus Capital – are holding out for a higher price. They took Tele2 to court claiming its actions were unlawful.