* Swisscom raises bid to 214 francs per share
* PubliGroupe's board, major shareholders approve new offer
* Telecoms group keen for control of online directories
(Adds details, shares)
ZURICH, June 17 Swisscom raised its
bid for PubliGroupe to 214 Swiss francs per share on
Tuesday and won support from PubliGroupe's board and major
shareholders, suggesting a two-month takeover battle is nearing
Swisscom, Switzerland's national telecoms operator, wants to
gain control of PubliGroupe's online directory platforms. It had
previously offered 200 francs per share as it competed with
media group Tamedia.
Major shareholders holding around 25 percent of PubliGroupe
have agreed to tender their shares at the new price, which
values the advertising firm at around 500 million Swiss francs
($555 million), Swisscom said.
In a separate statement, PubliGroupe said it supported the
increased takeover bid and urged shareholders to accept the
offer. It also rejected a separate bid of 190 Swiss francs from
Tamedia, which publishes the national newspaper Tages-Anzeiger,
Shares in PubliGroupe have more than doubled since April,
when Tamedia made an offer for the company. They were trading up
4.6 percent at 211.6 francs per share by 0822 GMT.
At the end of May, Tamedia agreed to accept Swisscom's
200-franc offer for its 17.6 percent stake in PubliGroupe and to
jointly take over PubliGroupe's directory business
instead. The agreement with PubliGroupe and its
major shareholders will not affect the earlier deal with
Tamedia, Swisscom said.
Swisscom said its takeover of PubliGroupe and partnership
with Tamedia are both subject to approval from Swiss competition
($1 = 0.9005 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian and Caroline Copley.; Editing by