Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners Moves To Take Over Tele Columbuss


By Stuart Thomson

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners and United Internet will this month move to take control of German cable operator Tele Columbus – which operates under the PŸUR brand – via a voluntary public offer of €3.25 (US$4.00)a share.

The offer represents a 37.5 per cent premium on Tele Columbus’s average share price over the three months prior to the bid. United Internet will contribute its indirect 29.9 per cent stake to the bidder and become a shareholder in the new structure.

An EGM of Tele Columbus shareholders has been called for January 20 to approve a €475 million share issue and capital increase backed by the bidder – Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners vehicle Kublai GmbH ­– which has also committed to provide additional equity of up to €75 million to fund the company’s fibre rollout.

Rocket Internet, which holds a 13.36 per cent stake in Tele Columbus, has signed a commitment to tender the offer.

Tele Columbus’s management have welcomed the offer and are recommending that shareholders accept it, arguing that it includes an attractive premium and reflects the intrinsic value of the company.

According to the company, the bidder supports existing management and does not plan to change the composition of the board, except in taking a seat.

The offer period should last six weeks and the takeover is expected to be completed in the second quarter.

In other German cable news, Vodafone has launched a tender offer to buy out minority shareholders in Kabel Deutschland, the group’s cable fixed line arm, in a move designed to bring to an end a legal dispute over the terms of the original offer that were contested by certain investors.

Vodafone is offering €103 for each outstanding share and has received acceptances from investors advised by DE Shaw Group, Elliott Advisers and UBS O’Connor, representing about 17.1 per cent of the group’s outstanding share capital.

Acceptance would give Vodafone approximately a 93.8 per cent stake in Kabel Deutschland.

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