Gestion Audem, the controlling shareholder of Canadian/US communications group Cogeco, has rejected a second unsolicited buyout proposal from cableco Altice USA and Canadian counterpart Rogers Communications. Louis Audet, president of Gestion Audem, announced on 18 October: ‘As we did on 2 September 2020, following the announcement of their [Rogers and Altice] first unsolicited proposal, members of the Audet family unanimously reject this further proposal. Since this is apparently not registering with Rogers and Altice, we repeat today that this is not a negotiating strategy, but a definitive refusal. We are not interested in selling our shares.’ A press release continued: ‘Cogeco enjoys a unique and enviable position as the only broadband services company with a significant presence in both Canada and the United States. Furthermore, the evolution of the stock prices and operating results of the Cogeco companies far outperforms those of either Rogers or Altice.’
Altice USA said its revised aggregate all-cash offer for all outstanding shares of Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications (including minority shares in the group already held by Rogers) was worth CAD11.1 billion (USD8.4 billion), including CAD5.1 billion to be paid by Altice USA for the US assets (cableco Atlantic Broadband). Altice’s original offer was worth an aggregate USD7.8 billion. Both proposed deals also involved selling Canadian cableco Cogeco Connexion to Rogers.
Gestion Audem, controlled by members of the Audet family, holds 69% of voting rights in Cogeco Inc., which in turn controls 82.9% of voting rights in Cogeco Communications.