Total control: billion-dollar buyout of Saft completed

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First announced in May, French power company Total has this week completed its tender offer to purchase the bulk of battery producer Saft’s shares in a deal worth an estimated $1.1 billion.

The results of the public tender offer initiated by Total show that the oil company now owns 90.14% of Saft’s shares, a total of 23,456,093 individual shares.

France’s Autorite des marches financiers (AMF) will now re-open the public tender offer for the period between July 19 and August 2 to enable shareholders who have not yet sold their shares to do so under the same terms agreed in the initial IPO.

Total has confirmed that investment will take priority over dividend payout, meaning the company will press ahead with a delisting of the stock if a level of 95% share ownership is reached. The settlement delivery of the offer is scheduled for July 21, at which point Total will control the capital and voting rights of the French battery developer.

Each share has been purchased at a value of €36.50 ($41.62) – a price that represented a 38.3% premium above Saft’s closing share price on May 6 when the acquisition wheels were set in motion. Total has been eager to diversify its power generation sources in recent years, opening in April a new business segment focused on gas, renewables and power, making the purchase of one of the storage industry’s most dynamic companies something of a coup for the French firm.

"The combination of Saft and Total will enable Saft to become the group’s spearhead in electricity storage," said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné in May. "It will notably allow us to complement our portfolio with electricity storage solutions, a key component of the future growth of renewable energy. This transaction will also enable Saft, its management and employees to benefit from Total’s technical, industrial, commercial and financial support. In addition, this transaction will enable Saft to successfully accelerate its development."

Speaking this week, Pouyanné added: "Total is pleased with the success of this tender offer. Our acquisition of more than 90% of the shares shows the confidence Saft shareholders have in our industrial project."