Altice and Rogers Stick by Cogeco Bid Despite Its Rejection

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Altice USA Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. aren’t ready to abandon their pursuit of Montreal-based cable provider Cogeco Inc.

The two companies said Thursday that they’re sticking with a $7.8 billion proposal that would let Altice USA acquire Cogeco’s U.S. assets while selling the rest to Rogers.

“We strongly believe that we presented a very attractive offer -- one that would reward all Cogeco shareholders with a significant premium -- and we stand by that offer,” Altice USA and Rogers said in a joint statement Thursday. “We remain committed to pursuing this transaction and are open to engaging with shareholders and the boards in a constructive dialogue.”

Rogers subsequently said Friday in a statement that the Toronto-based telecommunications company intends to keep Cogeco’s headquarters in Quebec if the bid is successful -- a pledge likely aimed at heading off objections from the nationalist provincial government.

Cogeco’s controlling family spurned the offer after Altice and Rogers unveiled their proposal Wednesday. Gestion Audem -- the holding company for the Audet family, which has 69% of voting rights -- said it would refuse to sell its shares.

“The family takes pride in its stewardship role,” said Louis Audet, who is president of Gestion Audem and Cogeco’s executive chairman. Independent board members also shot down the unsolicited offer.

The offer may just be a “first bid,” Desjardins analyst Maher Yaghi said Wednesday in a note.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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