June 25, 2020 / 5:52 PM / 19 days ago

MasMovil bid faces investigation call by minority shareholder

MADRID (Reuters) - MasMovil (MASM.MC) investor Polygon Global Partners has asked Spain’s market regulator to investigate the terms of a 3 billion euro (2.71 billion pounds) private equity bid for the telecoms firm.

Hedge fund Polygon said in a letter dated June 23 that the price of shares in MasMovil, which has grown rapidly to compete with Telefonica (TEF.MC), Vodafone (VOD.L) and Orange (ORAN.PA), had fallen 39% in the space of two weeks in March.

Polygon said in the letter sent to the CNMV that the terms agreed on by existing shareholders made any competing bid impossible.

A CNMV spokeswoman said on Thursday the letter had not arrived.

Investors representing 30% of MasMovil’s share capital have accepted the bid by KKR (KKR.N), Cinven and Providence and said they will only consider rival bids above 26 euros a share. The bid needs 50% acceptances for it to succeed.

MasMovil’s shares rose above the 22.50 euro offer price when the deal, which is backed by MasMovil’s board, was announced on June 1, and have stayed broadly slightly above the offer price.

The private equity consortium’s offer represented a 20% premium to the previous session’s close, but is well below a five-year high of 25.52 euros which MasMovil hit in March 2018.

Providence, which was MasMovil’s second-biggest shareholder at the end of March with a 9% stake, declined to comment.

Polygon’s move follows a complaint by fellow small shareholder AllianceBernstein (AB.N) that the price offered in the first European take-private attempt by major buyout funds since the coronavirus pandemic is too low.

A MasMovil spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Isla Binnie in Madrid and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London; Additional reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Alexander Smith

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