French alternative telecoms operator neuf Cegetel plans to sell up to 41.3 million shares for between EUR19 and EUR22.08 each through a EUR911 million (USD1.1 billion) initial public offering (IPO) to help finance the acquisition of AOL France and allow some stakeholders to sell shares. neuf Cegetel’s IPO values the company at between EUR3.8 billion to EUR4.4 billion. On top of the public offering, the company is selling up to 1.25 million new shares to employees at a discounted price of between EUR15.70 and EUR17.67 a share, raising a further EUR22.1 million. The operator is in the process of purchasing Time Warner’s local AOL unit for EUR288 million, adding 500,000 broadband customers to its base in the process. neuf Cegetel’s IPO opens today and closes at 5pm on 23 October. The IPO price will be determined on 24 October and the shares should start trading at noon that same day, according to the company.
Vivendi’s mobile arm SFR intends to buy 5.1 million neuf Cegetel shares from Louis Dreyfus Technologies SAS to keep its stake at 40.7%, becoming the largest single shareholder. After the sale, Groupe Louis Dreyfus will hold 29.6 % of neuf Cegetel, down from 35.1%. Meanwhile, it is understood that Suez SA will use the sale to offload its entire 11.9% holding in neuf Cegetel, while other shareholders will also reduce their interest; Artemis currently owns 1.56%, PAI Partners and Goldman Sachs Group each have 1.45% and BC Partners has 1.1%.