Billionaire Xavier Niel launched a big-money bid to buy the 29 per cent of Iliad Group shares he does not already control and take it private, with the entrepreneur aiming to make the company one of the leading players in Europe.

Announced alongside the operator’s H1 results, the offer is set at €182 per share which represents a 61 per cent increase on Iliad’s closing share price yesterday (29 July).

Niel already controls almost 71 per cent of shares either directly or through his various businesses. The operator’s board has unanimously welcomed the deal, which is being made through a separate entity owned by the billionaire.

If the tender receives the support of investors owning more than 20 per cent of the outstanding shares it aims to conduct a “squeeze out” procedure to acquire the remainder. The offer period is scheduled to open in September.

The board will meet next month to discuss the offer and make its final recommendation.

Announcing the offer, Niel said: “Iliad is now entering a new phase in its development, requiring rapid changes and major investments which will be easier to undertake as an unlisted company. Our ambition for Iliad is to accelerate its growth to make it a leading telecommunications player in Europe.”

H1 numbers
The buyout bid came as the company announced a bullish H1 results report, where it hailed an estimated 33.7 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to €3.7 billion with net profit of €239 million, up 14.6 per cent.

Iliad attributed the growth in revenue to the consolidation of Polish operator Play, which it acquired in November 2020, alongside a “rebound in growth in France” and a strong performance in its Italian unit despite what it described as a challenging operating context due to Covid-19 )coronavirus) restrictions.