Lucerne Capital puts spanner in the works of Drahi’s Altice Europe buyout plan

4 Dec 2020

Patrick Drahi’s plans to buy back shares in Altice Europe and take it private have been broadsided by minority shareholder Lucerne Capital Management which is accusing the billionaire of ‘egregious’ and ‘unlawful’ behaviour, and threatening court action over the terms of the proposed deal. Mobile Europe reports that Lucerne Capital has sent a letter to the board of Altice Europe and also detailed its grievances via Dutch newspapers, and will seek restitution through the enterprise chamber of the district court in Amsterdam, where Altice Europe is listed.

Lucerne Capital reportedly holds roughly EUR94 million (USD114 million) worth of shares in the company, but complains that not only is the offer price of EUR4.11 per share ‘too low’ (the price having fallen from a high of EUR6 earlier this year), but that the deal is prejudicial to minority shareholders and that the structuring of the buyout deal is ‘illegal under Dutch law’. The hedge fund has also raised concerns over ‘the validity of the opinion on fairness provided for the Altice Europe Board of Directors by LionTree Advisors’, and believes there are ‘egregious corporate governance incidents’ arising from ‘the transfers of massive wealth from Altice Europe to Patrick Drahi’. It also objects to Altice Europe’s governance structure, which it suggests allows Drahi to maintain control ‘via a system of two classes of shares’.

France, Netherlands, Altice Europe (formerly Altice Group)