Niel’s new way to buy big stake in Iliad startles market

Niel, Xavier (Iliad) Xavier Niel PA 14Nov19 230x150
By Jon Hay, Sam Kerr
14 Nov 2019

Xavier Niel, the founder and controlling shareholder of Iliad, the French telecoms company, is using an innovative technique to enlarge his stake, while avoiding the usual requirement to make a public offer to buy the whole company. Some bankers think it could be a clever new option for company owners — others doubt it can be used widely. Sam Kerr and Jon Hay report.

The deal, which Crédit Agricole and Société Générale are arranging, involves structuring the stake purchase as a capital increase by Iliad, at a premium price. Niel will underwrite the whole offer, which could be worth up to €1.4bn, but the company will buy back an equal number of ...

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