United Group to grow majority stake in Greece's Forthnet to 85% by end-2020, plans tender offer

United Group to grow majority stake in Greece's Forthnet to 85% by end-2020, plans tender offer

Dutch-based United Group, a leading telecommunications and media operator in Southeast Europe (SEE), said it has increased its stake in Greek telecommunications and pay-TV provider Forthnet to some 80% and is expected to launch a mandatory tender offer.

"Under Greek tender offer rules, United Group has triggered the minimum mandatory tender offer requirements and is expected to launch a Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO), which should be completed in the first quarter of 2021," United Group, majority-owned by UK private equity firm BC Partners, said in a statement on Tuesday.

In June, United Group said that it had agreed to acquire an initial stake of some 36% in Forthnet and since then has increased its shareholding interest to about 80%. By year-end, after the company completes the conversion of the Forthnet convertible debt it holds, its stake will rise to approximately 85%, United Group added.

"If United Group acquires at least 90% of the ordinary shares of Forthnet at the completion of the MTO, it will eventually acquire a 100% stake in the company, through a combination of acquisitions in the MTO and/or right to squeeze out any remaining shareholders in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations," the group explained.

Earlier this year, United Group completed the acquisition of TELE2 Croatia, now renamed Telemach Hrvatska, and Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) which operates under the Vivacom brand. The group is also present in Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

Forthnet is a provider of home entertainment and communications services in Greece, which employs around 1,000 people and offers its customers more than 60 direct-to-home (DTH) channels via the Nova brand, United Group said.

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