Report: Telefónica, KPN prep sales of German assets

Telefónica appointed banking firms UBS and JPMorgan Chase to prepare its O2 Germany unit for an initial public offering, with the number of shares offered being dependent upon demand, according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources. Reuters also reported that an IPO for O2 Germany could happen later this year. Telefónica declined to comment.

The Bloomberg report said that the company wants to sell a 20 per cent stake in O2 Germany for around €1.5 billion. Commenting on the move, Nuno Matias, an analyst at Espirito Santo in Lisbon, told Bloomberg: "It's going to be a very difficult deal amid the current market environment. It needs to explain to investors what the long-term prospects would be, such as whether or not there could be any potential understanding with Carlos Slim [owner of América Móvil] to consolidate with E- Plus."

Separately, KPN has also contracted UBS to sell the 18,000 base stations used by its E-Plus German division, according to a Reuters report, which cited unnamed sources. The sources told Reuters that infrastructure investment funds are the most likely buyers for the assets, adding that E-Plus would lease back the towers as part of the deal, which could raise €300 million to €400 million.

"E-Plus' towers have been upgraded relatively recently, so are generally speaking in good shape. However, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have been much more aggressive in updating their stations to 4G technology," an unnamed telecom analyst told Reuters.

The Dutch telecom infrastructure investment fund CIF has confirmed its interest in acquiring the E-Plus masts, and has already held talks with KPN. CIF, which has purchased KPN antenna sites in the past, told Telecom Paper that a sale of the German masts would attract strong competition. 

Telefónica and KPN, prior to América Móvil acquiring a 27.7 per cent holding in KPN, had come close to agreeing a possible merger of their German units, according to Bloomberg. The deal collapsed after credit rating companies warned Telefónica could be downgraded to junk status if the company were to take on any more debt.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this Telecom Paper article (sub. req.)

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