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    VOD   GB00BH4HKS39

VODAFONE GROUP PLC

(VOD)
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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Masmovil targets Euskaltel to gain ground in crowded Spanish telecoms market

03/29/2021 | 04:29am EDT

(Refiles to remove surplus words in para 2)

* Euskaltel shares hit five-year high

* Merged company would compete with three bigger players

* Biggest shareholder says deal is "a slam dunk"

MADRID, March 29 (Reuters) - Spanish telecoms group Euskaltel said on Monday it would cooperate on a 2-billion-euro ($2.35 billion) takeover bid by larger rival MasMovil, which is set to shake up the country's competitive market.

Shares in Euskaltel surged 16% in early trade on Monday, a day after MasMovil announced a friendly takeover bid for the company, with an offer priced at a 16.48% premium to Friday's closing price.

Euskaltel's major shareholders Zegona, Kutxabank and Alba Europe - which combined own 52.32% of Euskaltel - have agreed to accept the offer of 11.17 euros per share, MasMovil said on Sunday.

Zegona Chief Executive Eamonn O'Hare told Reuters that eight other investors needed to agree to back the deal. "It's going to be a slam dunk," he said.

Euskaltel said it would give MasMovil "needed support" that was reasonable to carry out the takeover and prepare documents to secure approval from regulators.

Euskaltel, which had focused on the Spanish regions of the Basque country, Galicia and Asturias, pushed outside of its traditional market last year when it offered British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin brand across Spain.

A merger with Masmovil could create stronger competition for Spain's three main telecoms operators Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange.

Euskaltel's share price hit its highest level in five years on Monday, adding about 0.3 billion euros to the company's market value.

Euskaltel said its board would set out its position regarding the bid.

MasMovil, which is owned by private equity funds, Providence and Cinven, said its approach was friendly and would only proceed if accepted by holders of at least 75% plus one share of Euskaltel's capital.

Zegona's O'Hare said he expected the deal to close early in the fourth quarter, chiming with brokers Canaccord Genuity who said in a note that the tender process should take about six months, and faced little regulatory risk.

Euskaltel had been working on selling a 49% stake in its broadband infrastructure arm to help raise cash. O'Hare said that if the Masmovil offer hadn't come along Euskaltel that stake sale would probably have gone ahead.

($1 = 0.8502 euros) (Reporting by Inti Landauro, Ingrid Melander, Aida Pelaez-Fernandez, Kate Holton and Isla Binnie; Editing by Edmund Blair, Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton)


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
EUSKALTEL, S.A. 0.00% 10.94 End-of-day quote.25.03%
ORANGE 0.55% 9.666 Real-time Quote.-0.70%
VODAFONE GROUP PLC -0.05% 110.82 Delayed Quote.-8.37%
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Financials
Sales 2022 44 954 M 52 358 M 52 358 M
Net income 2022 2 403 M 2 798 M 2 798 M
Net Debt 2022 42 164 M 49 108 M 49 108 M
P/E ratio 2022 16,9x
Yield 2022 6,94%
Capitalization 35 898 M 41 874 M 41 811 M
EV / Sales 2022 1,74x
EV / Sales 2023 1,69x
Nbr of Employees 105 000
Free-Float 97,7%
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Number of Analysts 24
Last Close Price 1,31 €
Average target price 1,94 €
Spread / Average Target 48,4%
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Managers and Directors
Nicholas Jonathan Read Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Margherita della Valle Group Chief Financial Officer & Director
Jean-François M. L. van Boxmeer Chairman
Johan Wibergh Group Chief Technology Officer
Valerie Frances Gooding Senior Independent Director
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