French fibre operator halts stake sale

17 February 2020 - 12:00 am UTC

French broadband operator Altitude Infrastructure has halted the sale of a stake in its rural fibre optic subsidiary, as it considers raising up to EUR 200m of mezzanine debt to fund its expansion plans instead. 

EDF Invest, the investment arm of French energy giant EDF, had held bilateral discussions with Altitude to buy an up to 49% equity stake in Altitude Infrastructure Très Haut Débit (THD), its broadband unit for low population density areas of France.

The discussions were halted earlier this year, said two sources familiar with the deal. One of the sources added that this was due to different price expectations for the stake between buyer and sellers.

Altitude Infrastructure and EDF Invest did not respond to requests for comment.

Rouen-headquartered Altitude has instead held preliminary discussions with undisclosed infrastructure debt funds to test the appetite for a EUR 130m to EUR 200m mezzanine debt raise, said one of the sources.

However, the company is yet to launch a formal process to raise the debt at the holdco level, added the source. 

Altitude has been exploring various options since late last year to raise capital to fund the rollout of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, which include 3.5 million FTTH plugs in low and medium density population areas. 

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