Equity group reaches TDC acceptance goal

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Nordic Telephone Company, the private equity consortium, said on Thursday it
had received valid acceptances covering about 85.5 per cent of shares in
TDC, Denmark’s biggest telecoms operator, and extended the offer period from on Wednesday morning until January 20.

The original conditional level of acceptance was 90 per cent, but NTC reduced the level to 85 per cent in a signal to the markets that it believed that the $12bn deal, Europe’s biggest ever private equity buy-out, would go through.

“Shareholders have reacted very positively toward NTC’s tender offer and we are extremely pleased with the result of the tender offer so far. NTC remains confident that it will be able to acquire 100 per cent of TDC,” Kurt Björklund, NTC chairman, said in a statement.

“Even though the sale has not been finalised yet, we must expect TDC to change owners shortly,” said Thorleif Krarup, TDC chairman.

NTC said it expected to continue TDC’s strategy with its “integrated Nordic mobile, fixed, cable and broadband delivery; capitalising on growth in mobile and broadband markets, its plans for personnel and the continued development of its Swiss operations”.

TDC has 14m customers, 2.5m of them in Denmark. It is active in several other European countries and in Switzerland it is the second biggest telecoms operator after Swisscom.

NTC comprises Apax Partners, Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira Advisers and Providence Equity Partners.

ATP, Denmark’s biggest pension fund, which owns 5.51 per cent of TDC,
has refused to accept the offer in a move some analysts have linked to fears over companies de-listing from the region’s stock exchanges.

Nordic companies have been popular targets for private equity buy-outs.

De-listing of companies poses a potential problem for pension funds and other partly public investors that are supposed to invest in their own countries.

Last year 15 companies were de-listed from the Copenhagen stock exchange.

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