Sufficient MasMovil shareholders support take-private deal

FILE PHOTO: A balloon with the logo of Masmovil is seen during its bourse debut in Madrid, Spain, July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Owners of more than half the stock of MasMovil have accepted a bid by a trio of private equity funds, meeting a key criterion to allow them to go ahead and take the Spanish telecoms firm private, a bourse filing showed on Thursday.

U.S. funds KKR, Providence and Cinven offered 3 billion euros (2.77 billion pounds) for the firm in what looks set to be the first major European leveraged buyout since the COVID-19 crisis roiled global markets.

The bidders said the minimum threshold condition has been met - as long as there are no last-minute retractions before Sept. 11, the deadline to accept or reject the offer.

Two minority shareholders had objected to the 22.50 euros being offered, saying it under-valued the company, which has grown fast in a competitive market to take on veteran rivals Telefonica and Orange.

Third-largest shareholder and board member Rafael Dominguez had also refused to back the bid but has since changed his mind.

Holders of around 30% of the company committed to sell before the deal was announced in June. Bidder Providence is MasMovil’s second-largest shareholder with a 9% stake.

Many European telecoms firms have long cheered the idea of mergers and acquisitions as part of a way to help the industry cope with hefty investments in next-generation 5G internet.

Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker