On 11 September 2020, Altice Europe announced that it had entered into an agreement with its 78% controlling shareholder, Patrick Drahi, on an all-cash offer of EUR 4.11 per share for all shares in Altice Europe. Mr Drahi has also announced his intention to freeze out any non-tendering shareholders, either through a statutory squeeze-out procedure or through a post-offer merger or asset sale.
In two letters (available here and here), Lucerne Capital Management, a hedge fund, voiced its opposition against the deal, stating that “the vast majority of Altice Europe’s minority shareholders believe that the public offer is nothing more than an illicit attempt by Mr Drahi to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic to yet again transfer massive value to himself, to the detriment of the minority shareholders”. Lucerne also initiated proceedings with the Amsterdam Enterprise Chamber, requesting the court to appoint three independent directors and to block the post-offer merger and asset sale. Three other investment funds, Sessa, Sheffield and Winterbrook filed similar proceedings. Their main criticism was aimed at the post-offer freeze-out techniques. Continue reading “Freezing out the minority shareholders of Altice Europe: how protective is Dutch law?”