Thursday, June 13, 2024

Warburg Pincus teams up with Horta-Osório on €6bn bid for telecoms assets

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Warburg Pincus has teamed up with former Credit score Suisse chair Sir António Horta-Osório on a €6bn-plus bid by the US personal fairness agency for Altice’s Portuguese telecoms belongings, in response to folks conversant in the matter.

A deal would mark a comeback for Horta-Osório, the previous Lloyds Banking Group chief govt, who left Credit score Suisse final yr after dropping the board’s help following breaches of coronavirus quarantine guidelines.

Since then, the 59-year-old Portuguese has taken advisory roles at Italian lender Mediobanca and personal fairness agency Cerberus, however has primarily saved a low profile.

He’s greater than an adviser on the Warburg bid, in response to folks conversant in the connection, who described it as a “partnership”, and he may play a job within the enterprise whether it is purchased, though that has not but been determined.

Horta-Osório ran Santander’s Portuguese enterprise within the early 2000s when Portugal Telecom, which was later purchased by Altice, was a big consumer. 

Altice is fielding provides for its Portuguese telecoms enterprise till early January, and has obtained curiosity from a number of trade gamers and personal fairness funds, together with US group Apollo, stated folks conversant in the matter. 

The public sale of Altice Portugal is a part of a broader effort led by Patrick Drahi, the billionaire proprietor of Altice, to promote belongings to chip away at its $60bn debt load amid issues about increased rates of interest.

Drahi has signalled he’s open to promoting numerous components of his telecoms and media empire, which incorporates belongings in France, Israel and the US, because it faces debt repayments within the coming years. 

Altice introduced it November it had agreed to promote a majority stake in its French knowledge centre unit to Morgan Stanley, and has additionally been seeking to get rid of on-line video promoting firm Teads.

Altice has additionally come below scrutiny because the summer season when Armando Pereira, the corporate’s co-founder, was positioned below home arrest in Portugal as prosecutors examine corruption allegations towards him. Pereira has beforehand denied wrongdoing.

Warburg Pincus lately raised greater than $17bn for its newest flagship personal fairness fund regardless of a tough market. 

The agency has made a sequence of investments in recent times within the telecoms and expertise sectors, together with the acquisition of T-Cellular’s Netherlands enterprise, in a deal valuing the corporate at €5.1bn. Warburg additionally acquired satellite tv for pc firm Inmarsat in a $6bn deal in 2019. 

Warburg’s European co-head is former Deutsche Telekom chief govt René Obermann, who has been concerned in a few of these investments. Alongside investing in telecoms, Warburg additionally backs corporations within the expertise, healthcare and enterprise providers sectors, amongst others. 

Horta-Osório, Warburg, Altice and Apollo all declined to remark.

Extra reporting by Leila Abboud and Antoine Gara

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