Altice USA and Rogers Communications have made it clear that they remain undaunted in their bid to acquire Cogeco and its Cogeco Communications operations in Canada and the U.S. (see “Cogeco rejects takeover bid from Altice USA, Rogers”). And Cogeco is just as resolute that it’s not for sale. The two sides exchanged strongly worded letters this week.
The correspondence began with a letter September 15 from the bidders to the boards of Cogeco and Cogeco Communications. Altice USA and Rogers asserted that the Cogeco board did not apply an “appropriate process” to the review of their offer, which was rejected the day after the bidders made it. “These failures of the boards resulted in there being no comprehensive review and analysis of our offer or deep engagement with the controlling shareholder,” who is the Audet family, wrote Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei and Rogers President and CEO Joe Natale. “In simple terms, the boards and their independent directors failed to fulfill their most basic duties in representing the shareholders they are duty bound to represent and protect.”
Goei and Natale closed the letter by demanding that James Cherry, lead board member of the two Cogecos, meet with them, setting a 5 PM deadline on September 16 for a response.
Cherry and the Cogeco board members met the deadline. In the response, attributed to Cherry, Cogeco asserted that it was Altice USA and Rogers that didn’t follow proper processes in announcing their bid the day after it was submitted, giving the Cogeco boards no time to evaluate the bid in private. “From the outset, you have engaged in bad faith tactics, some of which created confusion in the market,” Cherry wrote.
The Cogeco boards are done discussing the matter as well, according to Cherry. “We are fully confident our process was proper, and that we have given this matter the due care and attention that it deserves. We will not engage in a futile exercise aimed at diverting the attention of management and key resources from our business operations while creating friction among our stakeholders,” he wrote.
Altice USA and Rogers have since signaled that they will continue to pursue the matter according to press reports.