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Dec. 3, 2020, 1:42 a.m. EST

Orange to launch takeover bid for Belgian unit

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By Pietro Lombardi

Orange said late Wednesday that it plans to launch a takeover bid for its Belgian subsidiary Orange Belgium SA that would value the business at roughly 1.3 billion euros ($1.58 billion).

The French telecommunications company, which according to FactSet holds almost 53% in Orange Belgium, wants to launch a conditional offer of EUR22 a share in cash for all the shares it doesn't own already. This is a premium of almost 36% compared with Orange Belgium's closing price on Wednesday.

"This project is part of the continued efforts of the Orange Group to adapt the capital structure of its subsidiaries to their needs," it said.

A delisting of Orange Belgium may be considered, depending on the conditions. If Orange reaches a stake of at least 90% and voting rights of 95% after the offer, it would then launch a squeeze-out.

The launch of the offer, its timing and conditions will depend on some factors, including market conditions and the developments in financial markets, Orange said.

Should an offer be made, there would be no minimum thresholds and a material adverse change clause would be included.

Orange Belgium said late Wednesday that it took note of the news.

"The Board of Directors of Orange Belgium will meet as soon as possible to take note and examine the content of the offer in accordance with the legal provisions," it said.

Write to Pietro Lombardi at pietro.lombardi@wsj.com; @pietrolombard10

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