The Biggest Danish Buyout Deal in a Decade Hits a Familiar Wall

(Bloomberg) -- It happened in 2005 and now it’s happening again.

A consortium buying TDC A/S has failed to get enough shares to take Denmark’s biggest phone company private.

The Macquarie-led group said on Thursday that 88 percent of TDC’s shareholders have accepted its takeover offer, meaning Denmark’s biggest buyout in a decade is a done deal. The consortium, which includes pension funds ATP and PFA, just needed two-thirds of the shares to push through the acquisition. But it needed at least 90 percent to delist TDC from the stock exchange in Copenhagen.

The sequence of events marks a replay of 2005, when a consortium of private equity funds led by Blackstone and KKR bought TDC in what was then Europe’s biggest buyout. They also failed to take it private. Back then, ATP (which is now one of the buyers) refused to sell its stake.

The latest buyout group plans to “live with” TDC staying public, Allan Polack, the chief executive officer of PFA, told Bloomberg. He declined to say whether the consortium will push to buy more TDC shares to force a delisting.

“If they’re able to buy out minority shareholders at a later stage, I think that’s what they’ll want to do,” Morten Imsgard, an analyst at Sydbank, said. “It’ll be more ideal if they can take the company off the exchange to make it easier to deploy the long-term strategies that make the case for the new owners.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.