Cincinnati Bell garners unsolicited attention from new suitor

Cincinnati Bell announces it has received an unsolicited buyout bid from an "infrastructure fund" for $12 a share in cash, which is 14% over the deal it made in December. (Pixabay)

Cincinnati Bell announced on Friday that it has received an unsolicited buyout bid from an "infrastructure fund" for $12 a share in cash, which is a 14% increase above the buyout deal it made with Brookfield Infrastructure Partners in December.

On Dec. 23, Toronto-based conglomerate Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP announced it had struck a deal to buy Cincinnati Bell for $2.6 billion. Under the terms of the cash-and-debt deal, Cincinnati Bell shareholders would receive $10.50 in cash for each share of common stock, or 36% above the company's $7.72 closing price on December 20.

RELATED: Brookfield snaps up Cincinnati Bell for $2.6 billion

"Cincinnati Bell has commenced discussions with the Fund regarding the Proposal following Cincinnati Bell's board of directors having made the required determinations under the Brookfield Merger Agreement that allow it to do so," Cincinnati Bell said in a statement on Friday. "The Brookfield Merger Agreement remains in effect and accordingly the Cincinnati Bell board reaffirms its existing recommendation in support of the transaction with Brookfield Infrastructure at this time."

In December, Brookfield said it would pay $529 million for Cincinnati Bell, but it also agreed to assume about $2 billion in debt to bring the total to $2.6 billion. The deal, which has been approved by Cincinnati Bell's board of directors, still needs to pass customary regulatory approvals and a vote by the company's shareholders. Prior to the news of a second bid, the deal was expected to close near the end of 2020.

After closing at $11.25 per share, Cincinnati Bell's stock was up 21% in late morning trading on Friday to $13.64 per share.