August 1, 2019 / 11:17 AM / 21 days ago

KKR has 15.5% acceptances for Springer buyout; closes in on 20% goal

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - KKR (KKR.N) said on Thursday its tender to buy out minority shareholders in Axel Springer (SPRGn.DE) had received 15.5% in acceptances, bringing it closer to the 20% it needs for the deal to succeed ahead of Friday’s deadline.

KKR is teaming up to take Axel Springer private with Friede Springer, the 76-year-old widow of the company’s founder, and CEO Mathias Doepfner. Between them the two control a stake of 45.4% in Springer.

The buyout offer, at 63 euros per share, puts an equity value of 6.8 billion euros ($7.57 billion) on the business. That represents a premium of 40% to market levels preceding the offer when it was announced on June 12.

Backers of the bid hope to gain greater freedom to build Springer’s digital portfolio and to look for acquisitions, away from the eye of skeptical public equity markets.

A source familiar with the matter said institutional investors had tendered the bulk of the shares by 6 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday, the cut-off point for the latest update. The offer expires at midnight local time on Friday.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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