ZURICH May 28 Swiss media group Tamedia
has bowed out of a 468 million-franc ($521 million)
takeover battle for Swiss advertising firm PubliGroupe,
agreeing with rival bidder Swisscom to jointly take
over PubliGroupe's directory business instead.
The telecoms firm and Tamedia together said in a statement
on Wednesday that Tamedia would also accept Swisscom's 200-franc
offer for its 17.6 percent stake in Publigroupe.
Publigroupe's share price was down 4.59 percent at 199.40
francs by 1013 GMT, valuing the company at 466.6 million
Shares in Tamedia, which had raised its offer to 190 francs
from 150 francs on Tuesday, were up 1.8 percent at 114.6 francs,
valuing the company at 1.215 billion Swiss francs ($1.4
billion). Swisscom's share price eased 0.6 percent to 537 francs
to value the company at nearly 28 billion francs.
"This is the next and probably last step in the takeover
battle for PubliGroupe," Helvea analyst Chris Burger said.
"Tamedia leaves PubliGroupe to the financially stronger
Swisscom, which will buy the company for 200 Swiss francs per
share, if no third player will emerge, which we do not expect,"
Under the agreement Swisscom is to combine directory
operator local.ch, which it owns with PubliGroupe, with
Tamedia's search and information service search.ch in a joint
Swisscom would own 69 percent of the directory subsidiary
and consolidate the company, while Tamedia would hold the
remaining 31 percent.
"Swisscom and Tamedia want to work together to develop their
directory business into a strong Swiss alternative to Google
," the companies said in their joint statement.
Tamedia, which publishes the national daily TagesAnzeiger,
owns 75 percent of search.ch, while the remaining 25 percent
belongs to Swiss Post. PubliGroupe and Swisscom both own a 50
percent stake in local.ch, the telecoms group said.
($1=0.8977 Swiss francs)
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)