Everything Everywhere (EE) said it is not raising funds to gain independence from it parents and called the speculation unfounded.
The UK's largest mobile operator confirmed that talks over external financing options, such as bank financing and, at a later stage, bond financing, is part of normal business management--and not a move to have greater independence or buying out its parents, France Telecom (FT) Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
"The potential refinancing of debt in no way suggests a change in ownership structure," an EE spokesman told FierceWireless:Europe.
However, the meetings with banks, stoked by EE also talking with credit rating agencies about providing a rating, have provoked rumours that EE is positioning itself for an eventual exit from FT and Deutsche Telekom ownership through an initial public offering.
According to the Financial Times, EE has lined up seven banks to lend it the money to carry out the move, which could see the operator paying back £875 million of loans to its two parent companies.
EE is also said to be looking to use the relationship with the banks to assist it with access to the bond market next year to raise as much as £800 million for future corporate investment, unnamed banking sources told the Financial Times.
EE, which is a joint venture between FT and Deutsche Telekom, currently carries debts of around £1.25 billion that was taken up by FT and Deutsche Telekom to hasten the merger. If EE is successful in raising external funds, then this amount is expected to fall to around £400 million, and could be helped further if EE sells some of its spectrum as required as part of the merger terms.
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