Telecoms group Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) and its subsidiary Bell Aliant yesterday announced in a press release the initial results of BCE’s offer to purchase all Bell Aliant’s outstanding publicly held common shares and to exchange all outstanding Bell Aliant preferred shares. BCE revealed in July that it would buy out all minority shareholders in Bell Aliant for a total consideration of approximately CAD3.95 billion (USD3.68 billion); sellers will receive cash and BCE common equity. 81.2% and 72.7% of the respective outstanding publicly held common and preferred shares had been validly tendered to BCE’s offer by 19 September, and BCE expects to pay for these common shares on 24 September, while on the same day it expects to issue the new BCE preferred shares which will commence trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange the following day. As all conditions of the common/preferred share offers have been satisfied, and all regulatory approvals have been received, BCE expects to take Bell Aliant private on or around 31 October 2014.
Additionally, BCE has extended the common share offer, in accordance with its terms, to 2 October 2014 in order to enable holders of common shares who have not yet tendered to deposit their shares to the offer prior to the completion of the privatisation (delisting) of Bell Aliant. BCE expects to pay for all such shares tendered in the extension period by 7 October 2014.
If at least 90% of the publicly held common shares of Bell Aliant are tendered to the offer following its extension, BCE intends to acquire the balance of the common shares not tendered through compulsory acquisition on or around 31 October. If less than 90% of the publicly held common shares are tendered by 2 October BCE intends to use its voting power to force through the acquisitions of the remaining common shares at a meeting of Bell Aliant shareholders on 31 October (while the same applies to all remaining preferred shares).