March 9, 2018 / 8:54 PM / 13 days ago

Britain's M&G infrastructure fund proposes buying broadband firm Gigaclear

(Reuters) - The infrastructure fund of British asset manager M&G Investment Management Ltd said on Friday it had offered to buy rural broadband provider Gigaclear Plc in a deal valued at about 270 million pounds.

Investors in the privately held company would receive 400 pence in cash for each share they held, representing a 23 percent premium to their most recent fund raise, Infracapital said in a statement.

Gigaclear’s board will meet next week to discuss its largest shareholder’s offer, Chief Executive Matthew Hare said in an emailed statement.

“... but our business plan and focus for the future remains: to bring ultrafast full fibre broadband to rural Britain”, he added.

Gigaclear was founded in 2010 and operates fibre networks in English counties including Essex, Cambridgeshire, and Oxfordshire.

Full fibre broadband is many times faster - and around five times more reliable - than today’s superfast internet services, but it is available to just 3 percent of Britain’s homes and businesses, Britain’s telecoms regulator Ofcom said in February.

Companies including Vodafone Plc (VOD.L), TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc (TALK.L), and BT Group Plc (BT.L) have announced investments in new fibre networks in recent months.

    Infracapital, which owns about 43 percent of Gigaclear’s issued shares, said it had already received a letter of intent to accept its offer from the fibre network company’s second biggest investor, Woodford Investment Management.

    Railway Pension Trustee Co Ltd, which owns about 15.9 percent of the company, decided not to accept Infracapital’s offer.

    The deal is conditional upon receiving approval from more than 50 percent of the shareholders.

    ($1 = 0.7224 pounds)

    Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair and James Dalgleish

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