Billionaire Xavier Niel’s holding company increased the share of Iliad Group it controls to more than 84 per cent, as it formally launched a buyout offer to remaining minority investors.

In an update published as it opened its €3.1 billion buyout offer, Niel’s HoldCo II announced it already held or had commitments for 84.13 per cent of Iliad’s shares. This compares with the 71 per cent controlled by Niel when announcing the proposed buyout in July.

Earlier this week, French stock market regulator Autorite des Marches Financiers approved documents related to the proposal.

The offer period is expected to close later this month, by which point if HoldCo II controls more than 90 per cent of Iliad’s equity the company will launch a squeeze out procedure to acquire the rest.

On announcing his intent to acquire the remainder of the company, Niel said being an private company would allow it to make the “rapid changes and major investments” required for the next stage of its development towards being “a leading telecommunications player in Europe.”