January 23, 2017 / 1:11 PM / a year ago

Dutch tycoon de Mol plans counter-offer for media group TMG

(Reuters) - Dutch billionaire John de Mol plans to make a bid for Telegraaf Media Group (TMG) (TLGNc.AS) that values the Dutch newspaper publisher at 273 million euros ($293 million), potentially sparking a bid battle with a rival suitor.

The media tycoon said on Monday he planned to make a 5.90 euros per share bid for TMG through his investment vehicle Talpa, topping a 5.25 euros per share proposal made in December by a consortium led by Belgium’s Mediahuis.

Shares in TMG, which publishes the popular Telegraaf daily and also owns Sky Radio and several leading magazine titles, rose as much as 3 percent to a high of 5.979 euros in early trading, signaling investors are hopeful of a higher offer.

TMG, which hasn’t made a recommendation on either proposal yet, said it was “carefully reviewing and considering the Talpa proposal in comparison to the stand alone strategy and other strategic alternatives.” It added it was still in talks with Mediahuis and its partner VP Exploitatie.

Mediahuis said it was studying the situation.

VP Exploitatie is TMG’s biggest shareholder, with a 40 percent stake, and Mediahuis said in December it had also secured the support of other TMG shareholders, Delta Lloyd DLL.AS and Navitas.

KBC Securities said this meant Mediahuis had the support of 59 percent of TMG’s shareholders for its proposal.

However, ESN/NIBC markets analyst Johan van den Hooven said it was possible Delta Lloyd and Navitas could reconsider their support.

“You cannot rule out that ‘in extremis’ they would switch sides and back the higher offer,” KBC analyst Ruben Devos said.

John de Mol, best known as the creator of hit television show Big Brother, holds a stake of about 20 percent in TMG which he pledged not to sell, according to Devos.

That could block Mediahuis from reaching a 95 percent threshold needed to delist TMG.

Reporting by Wout Vergauwen; Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Mark Potter

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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