Believe: The main shareholders of Believe want to delist the music publishing group

(BFM Bourse) – The main shareholders of the owner of the German heavy metal label Nuclear Blast are launching a takeover offer aimed at delisting Believe.

The management of Believe no longer believes in the stock market future of the music publishing house. Its founder Denis Ladegaillerie therefore called on several investment funds to take control of the entire capital of the group before taking it off the stock market.

This consortium is made up of several funds managed by the American TCV, the Swedish EQT and the founder. He plans to acquire all of the music publishing house’s outstanding titles at a price of 15 euros per share. This price showing a premium of 21% on the last closing stock price before the announcement of the offer, as well as a respective premium of 43.8% and 52.2% compared to the average price of stock market weighted by volumes over the last 30 and 120 days. On the Paris Stock Exchange, the Believe title is suspended from trading.

The initiative announced today therefore confirms information from Reuters, which indicated in mid-January the wish of Believe’s main shareholders to delist the company.

Beforehand, this group will carry out several operations. The consortium will initially buy back the shares held by the company’s three historic shareholders, whose cumulative stake in Believe rises to 59.26%. At the same time, Denis Ladegaillerie plans to contribute part of his shares, i.e. 11.7% of the capital to the consortium, and to sell 1.29% of the group’s capital. These acquisitions and contributions would bring the consortium’s stake to 71.92% of the capital of the music publishing house.

In addition, other shareholders holding 3% of Believe’s capital have also committed to contributing their shares to the consortium’s proposal. The board of directors also unanimously welcomed this project, which values ​​the company at nearly 1.5 billion euros.

Following these multiple contribution operations, the consortium plans to file for the second quarter of 2024, a public purchase offer (OPA) targeting the Believe shares which would still be in circulation. The aim is then to delist the company, in the event that the consortium reaches the holding levels necessary to initiate a squeeze-out procedure, namely 90% of the capital.

False note

This project comes as the company has experienced an unflattering stock market performance since its IPO in June 2021. Believe was trading at 12.40 euros, at the closing price on Friday evening, i.e. a price 40% lower than the price of 19.50 euros per share retained for its IPO. This price was already set at the lower end of the indicative range which went up to 22.50 euros. It was also the first French Tech company to enter the French market.

Founded in 2005, Believe is one of the world leaders in digital music, supporting (directly or through labels) more than 850,000 artists in 50 countries at every stage of their career. The group founded by Denis Ladegaillerie is the owner of the German heavy metal label Nuclear Blast or the Naïve label founded in Paris in 1998.

Its manager deplores that Believe’s performance on the stock market does not reflect the operational dynamics of his group. “Since its IPO, Believe has continued an excellent growth dynamic, having enabled it to achieve, two years in advance, the objectives set at the time of listing. However, the solidity of its operational performance has not been reflected in the evolution of the stock price”, explained Denis Ladegaillerie.

Believe also took advantage of this announcement to confirm its 2023 objectives ahead of the publication of its annual results scheduled for March 13. The company still expects to achieve organic growth of 14%, as well as an adjusted Ebitda (gross operating surplus) margin slightly above 5.5%.

Delisting projects have multiplied in recent weeks on the Paris Stock Exchange, like IDSud which plans to leave the Parisian stock exchange in the second half of 2024. But first, it is Technicolor Creative Studios which will leave the Paris Stock Exchange. Paris on February 14, at the end of a complicated stock market journey.

Last year, 31 companies turned their backs on the Paris stock market, that’s 6 more than in 2022, according to the 15th barometer of public offerings from EY.

Sabrina Sadgui – ©2024 BFM Bourse

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