Orange Group has announced it now holds 76.97% of Orange Belgium shares following the close of its extended offer period on 4 May. A total of 14,368,307 Orange Belgium shares were tendered at a price of EUR22 (USD26.48) per share, representing 23.94% of the company’s share capital and 50.97% of the total number of shares targeted by the offer.
Despite falling short of the 95% threshold required to squeeze out minority shareholders and de-list the Belgian subsidiary, Ramon Fernandez, Deputy CEO of Finance, Performance and Development of the Orange Group, tried to put a positive spin on the operation. ‘We have achieved the objective we set for ourselves: offering a fair price to shareholders who wanted to monetize their shares and strengthening our stake in Orange Belgium,’ he said in a press release, adding: ‘With nearly 77% of the capital held by the Group, we now have the means to improve the financial flexibility of Orange Belgium, deploy its long-term value creation strategy more effectively and enable it to better react to major transformations of the Belgian market.’
Orange Belgium’s minority shareholders, led by private investment firm Polygon, opposed the buy-out offer, arguing the EUR22 per share offer was ‘derisory’ as it significantly undervalued the company, underestimated its growth prospects and notably attributed zero value to its telecom tower portfolio.