Both shareholders of the UK’s largest cellco by subscribers EE are said to be planning to float the business in the first half of 2014 rather than sell to an American operator, British broadsheet The Telegraph claims. EE’s parent companies Orange Group and Deutsche Telekom are now understood to favour a London listing, with the cellco’s CEO Olaf Swantee cited as saying that after the flotation the company would look to take advantage of such a move to boost sales of its mobile services to businesses. ‘It would make us even more British. As a British brand quoted in London we would be stronger with business customers,’ the executive said. Further, a flotation would reportedly allow EE to return value to its shareholders, while also providing cash for further investment in its network and for acquisitions on the scale of BSkyB’s GBP200 million (USD323 million) deal for O2 UK’s broadband operations, Mr Swantee claimed.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2013 EE was said to be putting the finishing touches to plans to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO), with the cellco said to be close to appointing advisers to oversee the process at the time. With any IPO expected to offer a 30% stake in EE, the listing had been expected to take place this year, but the timetable is said to have been pushed back to allow the cellco more time to demonstrate the strength of its growth strategy to potential investors.