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Private equity bid taken up by 86% of MasMovil shareholders

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) - A large majority of shareholders in Spanish telecoms firm MasMovil have accepted a private equity bid to take it private in the first major deal of its kind since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the stock market regulator said on Thursday.

United States-based funds KKR KKR.N, Providence and Cinven had secured support from the company's board and owners of almost 30% of its stock before announcing a bid worth 3 billion euros ($3.54 billion) in June.

Holders of 86.4% of the company tendered their shares for the 22.50 euros each on offer, the bourse filing said.

Under Spanish takeover law, the new owners still need to call a shareholder meeting to approve the firm’s delisting.

MasMovil’s new owners aim to take the company off the Spanish stock market, where it has been trading just below the offer price since early August, having soared above the bid level when the buyers showed their hand.

The stock has racked up an accumulated 10% rise so far this year, a polar opposite performance to the 17% drop for the sector benchmark index .SXKP.

Some shareholders had said the offer undervalued a company that has grown quickly by acquiring low-cost brands to grab market share from stalwarts Telefonica TEF.MC and Orange ORAN.PA.

European telecoms executives often champion a reduction in the number of companies operating in the industry, through mergers and acquisitions, to help share the high costs of investing in infrastructure to carry next-generation 5G internet.

($1 = 0.8472 euros)

Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Andrei Khalip

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