PARIS (Reuters) – French waste and water firm Suez (PA:) said on Tuesday it would do everything it could to avoid being taken over by rival Veolia (PA:) after the latter succeeded in buying 29.9% of the company and launched a tender offer on the rest of the capital.
“Suez takes note of the purchase by Veolia of 29.9% of its capital in a hostile manner and under unprecedented and irregular conditions”, Suez said in a statement.
“The group confirms that it will use all the means at its disposal to protect the interests of its employees, its clients and all its stakeholders, in particular to ensure equal and fair treatment of all its shareholders and avoid a creeping takeover or de facto control”, it added.
Veolia said on Monday it would launch its tender offer at 18 euros a share, the same price it offered power group Engie (PA:) for the 29.9% stake, in a deal that would value Suez at 11.2 billion euros ($13.20 billion).
The group also said it wanted to resume discussions with Suez, after pledging not to launch its tender offer until it got approval from its target’s board.
The French state, a major shareholder in Engie, voted against selling the 29.9% stake to Veolia, given the hostile nature of the takeover.
Veolia has argued the deal will create a “world super champion” in waste and water management, better-equipped to take on rivals emerging from China, while the takeover would also lead to cost savings of 500 million euros from the first year.
“Suez’s 150-year-long history does not end overnight”, Suez said in its statement.
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