Orange Group has extended its buy-out offer for Orange Belgium until 4 May, following low take-up during the initial acceptance period which ended on 23 April. According to a company press release, only 21.66% of the share capital of Orange Belgium and 46.10% of the total number of shares targeted by the offer were tendered between 8 and 23 April, taking Orange Group’s stake in its Belgian subsidiary to 74.68%. Orange has therefore decided to reopen the offer from 28 April to 4 May inclusive at an unchanged price of EUR22 (USD26.6) per share.
Orange Belgium’s minority shareholders have opposed a buy-out offer that they consider significantly undervalues the company. Private investment firm Polygon, which controls 5.29% of the Belgian operator, has described the EUR22 per share offer as ‘derisory’, arguing Orange’s valuation underestimates the telco’s growth prospects, overestimates future costs and notably attributes zero value to its telecom tower portfolio, which it describes as a ‘prized Picasso’. In response, Orange Group CFO Ramon Fernandez has reiterated the bid is ‘correct and fair’ and reaffirmed that there is ‘no hidden value’ in the tower assets, highlighting that a regulatory obligation to share antenna sites at a regulated price sets Belgium apart from other European markets.