Warburg Pincus and former Lloyd’s boss prepare takeover bid for Altice Portugal
The US private equity fund Warburg Pincus has joined forces with Portuguese celebrity banker, the ex-Lloyds Bank and Credit Suisse CEO, Sir António Horta Osório, to make a bid for Altice Portugal.
According to the Financial Times, the private equity firm is looking at a €6Bn bid for the Portuguese telecoms operator which holds the brand MEO.
The holding company that currently owns Altice Portugal, Altice International, has a massive €70Bn debt but selling off Altice Portugal would effectively liquidate only a small part of it.
António Horta Osório is certainly the most famous Portuguese banker in the world. He was knighted by the late Queen for his services to the UK banking system after taking a troubled Lloyd’s bank, which foundered after the banking crisis over a decade ago and turned the bank’s fortunes around.
The banker was also widely praised for the way he championed causes such as stress at work after bravely going on the record that he had been forced to take time off from his executive job suffering from burnout and exhaustion while at Lloyd’s Banking Group.
In 2022, Sir António quit his executive job at Credit Suisse after losing the board’s support following breaches of coronavirus rules.
Over the past year he has been advising the Italian bank Mediobanker and private equity firm Cerberus.
The FT, citing insiders, says that in the Warburg Pincus bid he is “More than an advisor” but a “partner” and could play a role in the business if it is acquired.
Sir António managed Santander’s Portuguese business in the early 2000s when Portugal Telecom, which was subsequently purchased by Altice, was a major client.
Altice has received significant interest from overseas buyers in purchasing its Portuguese subsidiary including private equity funds Apollo and Saudi Telecom.
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