MONTREAL — The boards of directors at Cogeco Inc. and Cogeco Communications Inc. have unanimously rejected a revised unsolicited takeover offer from Altice USA Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc.
The companies' boards met Tuesday to consider the $11.1-billion proposal, which was up from a previous offer of $10.3 billion.
The decision doubles down on a Sunday night statement from the Audet family — which has a controlling stake through holding company Gestion Audem — refusing the offer. Gestion president Louis Audet on Sunday said the family’s rejection of two unsolicited proposals in as many months was “not a negotiating strategy, but a definitive refusal.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Louis Audet again said the family has no interest in selling. Gestion Audem holds 69 per cent of voting rights at Cogeco Inc., which in turn controls 82.9 per cent of Cogeco Communications Inc.'s voting rights.
“Following separate deliberations of the independent board members supported by independent legal counsel, taking into account the stated position of the Audet family, the boards rejected the revised unsolicited, non-binding proposal and will not engage with Altice and Rogers,” Cogeco’s board said in a statement.
Under the revised offer, Altice said it would pay $11.1 billion cash to buy all the shares of Cogeco Communications Inc. and its parent Cogeco Inc., including $900 million to buy the Audet family's multiple voting shares and their subordinate shares.
Cogeco is one of the few broadband companies with a large presence in both Canada and the U.S. Under its proposal, Altice USA would keep Cogeco's U.S. cable assets and sell its Canadian assets to Rogers.
Altice has been pursuing a deal with Cogeco to expand into 11 U.S. states on the east coast. Cogeco shareholder Rogers, meanwhile, would gain a stronghold in Quebec, and has said it will invest $3 billion into Quebec internet infrastructure if it can reach a deal with Cogeco.
Altice said on Sunday that if no agreement is reached by Nov. 18, it will withdraw its offer.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:RCI.B, TSX:CGA, TSX:CCO)
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