An initial public offering of EE, the largest U.K. wireless carrier, will happen in the fourth quarter at the earliest and only involve a minority stake, co- owner Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) said.
“If we are to have an orderly, solid preparation, then the fourth quarter is the first in which we can think about it,” Timotheus Hoettges, the chief financial officer of the Bonn- based operator, told reporters today. “But we’re under no time pressure. It depends on market conditions.”
France Telecom SA (FTE), who owns the other 50 percent of EE, set a similar timeframe for the process, CFO Gervais Pellissier said in December. EE, which was formed in 2009 as a combination of the Orange and T-Mobile brands and has a head start in offering faster wireless connections, has also attracted interest from private-equity firms, France Telecom has said.
“Our destination is an IPO -- that’s the way of bringing additional value out of England and to Germany and France,” Hoettges, who is set to take over as CEO after this year, said, declining to rule out a sale to private-equity firms. “We have at the moment very high interest from the market.”
The value of IPOs announced in Europe totaled 18.6 billion euros over the past 12 months, down from 40.2 billion euros in the year-earlier period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We want to stay in this business, we want to stay in the market, and we also want to retain our dominance, our majority in England,” he said.
Deutsche Telekom is also reviewing the future of its online-classifieds unit Scout24 Holding GmbH. The process is “open-ended” and there are no talks with publisher Axel Springer AG (SPR) the moment about a sale, Hoettges said.
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