Buyout funds launch $3 billion bid for Spain's MasMovil

MADRID (Reuters) – Buyout funds KKR (KKR.N), Cinven and Providence have mounted a friendly bid to pay up to 2.96 billion euros ($3.30 billion) for Spain’s MasMovil MAS.MC, the companies said on Monday, sending shares in the telecom operator soaring more than 20%.

It is the first attempt by heavyweight private equity investors to buy a publicly listed company in Europe in a so-called take-private deal since the coronavirus crisis brought most transactions in the region to a halt.

The funds offered 22.50 euros per MasMovil share and said shareholders with 29.56% had already committed to sell at a price that represents a 20% premium over its price at the end of trading on Friday.

MasMovil, founded in 1997, sells fixed line, mobile and Internet services. It has grown through acquisitions, bolstering its claim to the fiercely competitive Spanish market, snapping up lower-cost brands Pepephone and Yoigo in 2016.

Its stock leapt at the market open and was changing hands at 0740 GMT for 22.8 euros, a touch above the offer price and more than 22% higher than they had closed the previous week.

Chief Executive Meinrad Spenger said in a bourse statement that MasMovil had met its suitors and signed an agreement regarding the bid, which it said would be “beneficial for the shareholders and other stakeholders in the company”.

The bidders have told the company they would maintain continuity in the company’s strategy, staff and executive team, the statement said.

The bid is conditional on acceptance from at least 50% of shareholders, the funds said.

($1 = 0.8977 euros)

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