The owners of Everything Everywhere, Britain’s biggest mobile phone company, are finalising plans for a £10bn stock market flotation, it has emerged.
France Telecom (Other OTC: FNCTF - news) and Deutsche Telekom (Xetra: 555750 - news) are close to appointing advisers to pave the way for an IPO, which the two companies have described as the “preferred” outcome of a strategic review of the recently rebranded EE.
EE was the result of a merger in 2010 between Orange and T-Mobile, owned respectively by the French and German companies.
France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom said in a joint statement that they remained “long term partners in EE”.
“Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom are very confident in the management strategy which aims to strengthen EE’s leading position in the UK, leverage on the largest 3G network and first 4G network roll-out, further progress the integration of T-Mobile and Orange and increase the profitability of this business in the coming years.
“In that respect Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have decided to conduct a strategic review on the asset and consider different options with an IPO as the preferred option. We expect to conclude the strategic review in the course of 2013. We do not comment on specific speculation.”
Gervais Pellissier, deputy chief executive of France Telecom, said in November last year there “could be some space at the end of next year” for a flotation, adding that both parent companies would remain the majority controlling shareholders in a listed company.
EE has around 27m customers and is investing £1.5bn over three years to roll out superfast 4G mobile services with the aim of reaching 98pc of the UK population by the end of 2014.
Other options for EE include the sale of a stake to private equity groups which are already believed to have expressed interest in a potential deal, with Apax, KKR and CVC (Taiwan OTC: 4744.TWO - news) named as possible suitors.