TalkTalk agrees £1.1bn takeover by Toscafund and Penta

Telecoms firm TalkTalk has said it has agreed a £1.1 billion takeover by investment company Toscafund and private equity firm Penta.

It comes more than two months after the broadband provider first said it was in talks over the sale.

TalkTalk said the offer, of 97p per share, represents a 16.4% premium on its closing price on October 7, shortly before the parties started talks over the deal.

Toscafund, which was already TalkTalk’s second largest investor, and Penta hailed the company’s “resilient” trading performance in 2020 despite disruption from the pandemic.

Sir Charles Dunstone, TalkTalk’s chairman, said: “Being a private company would allow us to accelerate adoption and focus on our role as the affordable provider of fibre for businesses and consumers nationwide.

“The telecoms industry is going through a fundamental reset and we are keen to play our part in it.”

Ian West, senior non-executive director at TalkTalk, said: “The Independent TalkTalk directors have taken into account the risks associated in achieving TalkTalk’s strategic ambitions and the wide support that ToscaFund would provide in this regard.

“The Independent TalkTalk directors believe, taking into account the advice they have received, that the terms of the cash offer are fair and reasonable, and are unanimously recommending that shareholders accept the cash offer.”

TalkTalk also told investors it delivered a “robust” performance over the six months to September in the face of the virus.

It said it was boosted by a jump in data usage, which has increased by more than 40% since the pandemic hit.

TalkTalk said headline earnings dropped by 12.9% to £122 million after it was impacted by lower revenues for the period.

In a separate announcement, the mobile operator also revealed that chief finance officer Kate Ferry is to step down from the business after three and a half years.

Ms Ferry will be replaced in the role by Phil Eayres, who has been at the business for six years, most recently as an independent strategic adviser leading the development and disposal of its FibreNation arm.