Altice offers $10.3B bid for Cogeco, makes side deal with Rogers Communications

Altice offers $10.3B bid for Cogeco, makes side deal with Rogers Communications
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Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. are facing a $10.3-billion offer that would see its U.S. business scooped up by a New York cable company and its Canadian assets head to long-time shareholder Rogers Communications Inc..

Altice USA Inc. said Wednesday that it has made an offer worth to buy Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. and struck a side agreement to sell the companies’ Canadian assets to Rogers for $4.9 billion.

“We greatly respect and appreciate the legacy the Audet family has created with Cogeco, building an iconic company across Canada and the U.S. that is driven by superior customer service and continuous investments in technology,” Altice chief executive Dexter Goei said in a statement.

“(We) are confident that Mr. Audet and the Cogeco boards will act in the best interest of all shareholders and fairly evaluate this offer.”

New York-based Altice said the all-cash deal includes $800 million for ownership interests and voting shares held by Louis Audet, the executive chairman of Cogeco, and his family.

Altice would pay $106.53 per share for the remaining Cogeco Inc. subordinate voting shares and $134.22 per share for each Cogeco Communications Inc. subordinate voting share.

The offer is a roughly 30 per cent premium on each stock’s one-month volume-weighted average.

Altice has also entered into an arrangement to sell Cogeco’s Canadian assets to Rogers, the Montreal-based company’s largest long-term shareholder, if its Cogeco bid is accepted.

Rogers would pay $4.9 billion — a total that would be fully financed though the company’s existing cash reserves.

“Under the stewardship of Mr. Audet, the Audet family, and the 4,500 Cogeco team members, Cogeco has built an iconic company in Canada and the United States,” Rogers president and chief executive Joe Natale said in a statement.

“This meaningful offer reflects the tremendous accomplishments of the Audet family and Cogeco’s employees.”

If Altice’s transaction is accepted by Cogeco and the Rogers deal goes through, Altice would still own all the U.S. assets of Cogeco, including Atlantic Broadband, a cable operator providing residential and business customers with broadband, video and telephony services in 11 U.S. states.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CCA, TSX:CGO, TSX:RCI.B)

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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