Colt declares Fidelity takeover unconditional

Shareholder approval achieved despite executives’ discontent

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Green light

Telecoms and IT services company Colt Group has declared its takeover by financial services company Fidelity unconditional, as it heads towards private ownership.

Shareholders approved the bid of 190p per share, valuing the stock at £1.7bn (€2.4bn).

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Lightning Investors, Fidelity's bidding company, received "valid acceptances" for 27.5 per cent of the total shares, lifting the investor's stockholding to 89.9 per cent of shared capital.

Fidelity first made a takeover bid for the FTSE 250-listed firm in June, but Colt's executives claimed the offer fell short of their estimates and took issue with some of the bid's financial terms.

However, since Fidelity already owned a 62 per cent stake in Colt, it needed to rally only about a quarter of shareholders for the deal to be approved.

Colt abandoned some of its telecoms arm before hiring a string of channel heavyweights to take the reins and refocus on a tech division. In July, Colt announced that it would also be ditching its IT services operations in order to concentrate on its core network, voice and datacentre services activities.

It was the network services sector that buoyed Colt's first-half results, with revenue growing 4.5 per cent to €434m, a significant portion of the €790.8m total turnover. Elsewhere, voice services plunged 29 per cent and tech services dipped 11.2 per cent.

Colt has already requested that its shares be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.

Following today's announcements, non-executive directors Olivier Baujard, Sergio Giacoletto, Katherine Innes Ker, Anthony Rabin and Lorraine Trainer stepped down from the board, effective immediately.

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