Altice Boosts Bid for Cogeco in Revised $8.4 Billion Offer

Altice USA Inc. raised its bid forCogeco Inc. andCogeco Communications Inc. to $8.4 billion after an earlier $7.8 billion proposal was rejected by the controlling Audet family.

The revised offer Sunday includes C$900 million ($682 million) to the Audets for their multiple classes of voting shares of both companies, as well as C$123 per share for the remaining Cogeco subordinate voting shares and C$150 per share for those in Cogeco Communications.

Dexter Goei, chief executive officer of Altice,said the revised offer incorporated feedback from discussions with some shareholders. Goei asked the boards to consider the bid and “engage with us to discuss our proposal.”

Altice first announced an unsolicited offer Sept. 2 in a deal that would see it obtain the Canadian cable company’s U.S. assets and sell the rest toRogers Communications Inc. The Audet family, through its holding company Gestion Audem Inc., spurned the offer after Altice and Rogers unveiled their plan.

Quebec Play

“This revised offer provides significant additional value for all shareholders and upholds our commitment to C$3 billion worth of investments over the next five years in Quebec, including maintaining the Cogeco brand and Cogeco’s headquarters in Quebec,” Rogers Communications Inc. Chief Executive Officer Joe Natale said in a statement.

Altice and Rogers weren’t ready to abandon the deal after the initial rejection. Soon after, Rogers said it planned to keep Cogeco’s headquarters in Quebec if the bid is successful — a pledge likely aimed at heading off objections from the nationalist provincial government.

The Audet family followed up with a “definitive” rejection. Louis Audet, the designated representative of the Audet family, said that the controlling shares the family holds of Cogeco and indirectly of Cogeco Communications weren’t for sale.

Gestion Audem holds 69% of the voting rights at holding company Cogeco, while Rogers has control over 13% of the votes. For Cogeco Communications, Gestion holds 83% of the votes and Rogers has 6%.

Rogers then announced an investment proposal in Quebec where it would spend C$3 billion in the province over the next five years, ensuring 5,000 jobs for the combined Rogers and Cogeco entity.

Shares of Cogeco Inc. have climbed 7.4% since the deal was announced, while Cogeco Communications has gained 4.2%.

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