Telefónica confirms IPO as one option on table for O2 UK

Telefónica chairman and CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete López

Telefónica confirmed reports that it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) for its O2 UK mobile business, but told FierceWireless:Europe that such a move is only one of a number of options it is mulling for the business.

Speculation regarding Telefónica’s next move in the UK has been rife since the European Commission blocked a planned merger of the unit with CK Hutchison’s Three UK in May due to concerns over the impact of the deal on competition in the UK market.

Telefónica forwarded FW:E a copy of a statement it issued to the Spanish Securities Market on Monday that reveals the operator is “considering various strategic options” for O2 UK, all of which “would involve Telefónica maintaining a majority shareholding” in the business.

“Preparatory work in connection with such strategic options has been initiated,” the operator stated.

A final decision on O2 UK will be made in a matter of weeks, and if an IPO is chosen it would take place early in 2017, Reuters reported, citing Telefónica executive chairman and CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete López.

The operator announced in June that it had abandoned plans to sell O2 UK, and that it would reinstate the businesses results into its group earnings statement from Q2 2016 onwards.

Telefónica also announced plans on Monday to float at least 25 per cent of its Telxius tower business by the end of 2016. As with its O2 UK proposals, Telefónica said it would remain the majority shareholder in the business after the listing, which the operator intends to conduct on stock exchanges in Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, and Valencia. The operator added that Telxius shares would be included in the Spanish Continuous Market, an electronic trading system.

The operator said Telxius operates a portfolio of around 16,000 cellular wireless towers in Spain, Germany, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. Telxius also handles wholesale cable connectivity, operating a total of around 65,000 km of fibre optic lines some 31,265 km of which are directly owned by Telxius.

Legal restrictions prohibit us publishing the statement on Telxius in full, but details can be accessed by following the relevant links on Telefónica’s press site.

For more:
- view Telefónica’s O2 UK statement (PDF)
- see this Reuters article

Related articles:
Telefónica sells 1.5% stake in China Unicom for €322M
Telefónica plans to keep O2 UK; will reinstate operation in Q2 2016 earnings
Report: O2 UK CEO considers £8.5B MBO for former CK Hutchison target