O2 UK IPO unlikely until after Brexit

23 Oct 2018

A stock market flotation of British mobile network operator (MNO) O2 UK is unlikely to take place until after Brexit, Sky News reports. The cellco, a subsidiary of Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, had been expected to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this year – once 4G and 5G spectrum auctions had been concluded – but it is understood that amid market uncertainty the plans have now been put on hold.

Meanwhile, the report also notes that, while Telefonica had been looking to raise cash on O2 UK with a view to driving down debts of around EUR40 billion (USD46 billion), its need to float its British unit to generate funds has become less pressing as its cash flow has improved. Indeed, Telefonica chief executive Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete Lopez was cited back in August as saying he was ‘under no pressure’ to sell a part of O2 through an initial public offering (IPO), though he did note that the company would continue to monitor the stock market. ‘It would be a sizeable IPO, [which] would need attractive conditions, but it doesn’t look like the financial markets are ready,’ he noted at that time.

United Kingdom, O2 UK, Telefonica