ZURICH (Reuters) – China’s Alibaba plans to acquire a stake of up to 9.99% in Swiss duty free group Dufry, Dufry said on Monday, as it announced a new Chinese joint venture with the tech giant.
“Alibaba Group and Dufry AG (Dufry) have agreed to enter into a collaboration to jointly explore and invest in opportunities in China to develop the travel retail business and to enhance Dufry’s digital transformation,” Dufry said in a statement.
The Swiss firm has reeled under the hit of COVID-19 and plans to ask shareholders on Oct. 6 to fund a buyout of its Hudson Ltd unit via a new rights issue.
It said Alibaba’s commitment meant it now hoped to bring in proceeds of 700 million Swiss francs ($763 million) through the rights issue,
Hedge fund Lucerne Capital, an investor in Altice Europe NV, has raised objections to billionaire Patrick Drahi’s plan to take the company private, saying his offer undervalues the company.
Altice’s founder and largest shareholder made an offer Sept. 11 to pay 4.11 euros a share through his Next Private vehicle, valuing the entire company at 4.9 billion euros. That represented a 24% premium over the previous day’s closing price.
The offer represents a “significant discount” to the shares, and is designed to squeeze out minority investors, the hedge fund wrote in a letter to the French telecommunications company’s board Thursday.
Lucerne Capital, founded in 2000, said it represents funds owning about 94 million euros of Altice Europe shares.
A representative for Altice didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Mr. Drahi is using the temporary lull in the share price, caused by Covid-19, to unlock the huge upside in