Ziggo Starts IPO as Cable Company Seeks Amsterdam Listing

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Ziggo BV, the Dutch cable-television company owned by Warburg Pincus LLC and Cinven Ltd., began an initial public offering process today, seeking a listing on the Amsterdam exchange.

The IPO will consist of a partial sale of the two buyout firms’ stakes, Utrecht-based Ziggo said in a statement today, without giving further details. The sale could raise more than 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), people with knowledge of the process have said.

“The company is fully prepared for a stand-alone future with full access to both the debt and equity capital markets,” Andrew Sukawaty, chairman of Ziggo said in the statement. “The IPO has always been a strategic priority and will be an important milestone for Ziggo.”

As part of the IPO, Ziggo plans to convert about 2.28 billion euros in shareholder loans into equity, the company said. Ziggo’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization jumped 7.7 percent to 834.6 million euros last year. Sales climbed 7.4 percent to 1.48 billion euros.

European cable companies are benefiting from increasing appetite for high-definition content and broadband Internet. Demand for such services is allowing the companies with fast triple-play services -- television, Internet and phone -- to boost growth and profit.

Ziggo, which competes with Royal KPN NV in the Netherlands, could not give any details about the timing of the listing, spokesman Martijn Jonker said by phone.

European IPOs

If Ziggo succeeds in raising 1 billion euros or more, its IPO will be the biggest in western Europe in at least seven months. The Spanish lender Bankia SA raised $4.4 billion in an IPO in July. Ziggo’s listing would also be the first in the Netherlands in more than two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Buyout firms are reviving IPO plans following an equity rally this year, after the European sovereign debt crisis forced them to delay sales last year. Warburg and Cinven, both raising new funds, are also seeking to return cash to investors.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are managing the IPO as global coordinators, with Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG acting as joint bookrunners. Nomura Holdings Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, ABN Amro Group NV and Rabobank Group are joint lead managers and Societe Generale is co-lead manager.

In the Netherlands, companies seeking to go public need their prospectuses to be approved by the country’s financial markets regulator, the AFM. Ziggo may list as early as March, the people said.

John Malone’s Liberty Global Inc., which agreed to acquire German cable operator Kabel Baden-Wuerttemberg GmbH last year, previously expressed interest in Ziggo.

“It’s one that you should expect us to look at if a transaction like that were to become available,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Fries said on Feb. 23 during a conference call with investors. “But it’s my understanding that they are moving very aggressively and rapidly towards a public market listing.”

Liberty Global spokesman Bert Holtkamp declined to comment on the plans Ziggo announced today.

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