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French Tycoon Xavier Neil Eyes Full Control of Millicom

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Xavier Neil, the French telecom magnate, is seeking financing to acquire the remaining 80% of Latin American telecom group Millicom through his investment vehicle, Atlas. The move was disclosed after media reports surfaced, prompting an official statement from Atlas Investissement. The statement confirmed that Atlas is exploring a cash tender offer for Millicom, aiming for a purchase price of $24 per share.

Millicom’s board acknowledged receiving a non-binding expression of interest from Atlas. They indicated that any potential offer would undergo careful review, emphasizing that there is no certainty of a transaction or its terms.

The formal process included filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which highlighted that the $24 per share offer represents a 19% premium over Millicom’s three-month average price, a 27% premium over the six-month average, and a 38% premium over the twelve-month average. Despite these figures, Millicom’s stock has hovered around $24 recently and has been at historical lows for the past year, suggesting the premium might not be as significant as it appears.

Atlas initially acquired a 7% stake in Millicom in November 2022, later increasing its holding to 20% amid rumors of another investment group’s interest in Millicom. Neil, who owns European operator group Iliad, is betting on his ability to revitalize Millicom and is now tasked with convincing other investors, including Millicom’s shareholders, of his vision.

As negotiations progress, the Millicom board may seek a more favorable offer, reflecting the strategic value they see in the company despite its current stock performance. Neil’s bid represents a critical moment for Millicom, with potential implications for its future direction under new leadership.

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