Business Irish

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Telefonica looks to pull trigger on 02 share listing

A man walks past Telefonica's building in central Madrid
A man walks past Telefonica's building in central Madrid

Andres Gonzalez in Madrid

Spain's Telefonica is looking to list about 30pc of its British mobile unit O2 in what would be one of the biggest initial public offerings (IPOs) on the London market this year, sources told Reuters.

02 was up to recently run by Irishman Ronan Dunne, who recently took a senior role with Verizon in the US.

Telefonica wants to use the relative market calm after the turmoil caused by June's Brexit vote to cut its stake in Britain's second-largest mobile firm and has hired UBS, Morgan Stanley and Barclays as global coordinators for an IPO which could value O2 at about £10bn (€11.6bn), the sources said.

An O2 spokesman referred to a September 5 statement by Telefonica when it said it was considering "various strategic options" for O2, including an IPO and that "preparatory work" had begun.

Telefonica boss Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete has asked the banks to speed up the preparatory work, hoping to list O2 in December if market conditions allow, the sources said.

They ruled out a listing in November as the deal remains in the early stages and the US presidential election on November 8 is seen as a potential trigger for market turmoil.

"They are hoping to list O2 at the beginning of December, but Telefonica doesn't want to take unnecessary risks if market conditions deteriorate," one of the sources said.

The deal may be delayed to the first quarter of 2017 in the event of market uncertainty. Telefonica has been reviewing strategic options for O2 since a £10.3bn sale to CK Hutchison Holdings was blocked by Europe's antitrust watchdog in May.

A mooted management buyout then petered out.


Irish Independent

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