Numericable to launch rights issue to fund SFR deal

PARIS, April 6 Sun Apr 6, 2014 12:08pm EDT

PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) - French cable company Numericable will launch a rights issue worth up to 4.7 billion euros ($6.44 billion) to help fund its acquisition of Vivendi unit SFR, Numericable said on Sunday.

Numericable won a fierce month-long bidding war against mobile rival Bouygues for the prize of SFR on Saturday when Vivendi announced it had decided to go with Numericable's offer, which combined 13.5 billion euros in cash, a 20 percent stake in the combined entity and a potential milestone payment.

The takeover promises to reshape Europe's third-biggest telecoms market after two years of brutal price competition brought on by the arrival of low-cost rival Iliad into the mobile arena.

Following the planned rights issue, which will be guaranteed by the holding company of Numericable's billionaire backer Patrick Drahi, the remainder of the cash payout - up to 8.8 billion euros - will be backed by debt financing, Numericable said.

Drahi and other executives will give more details at a press conference on Monday, the statement said. Drahi's company Altice will own 60 percent of the combined entity with Vivendi owning 20 percent and the remainder floated on the stock market.

Private equity firms Cinven and Carlyle have agreed to exchange their combined holdings of 35 percent in Numericable for cash and shares in Altice, Numericable said. ($1 = 0.7303 Euros) (Reporting by Lionel Laurent, editing by David Evans)

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