France Telecom opens up EE to flotation in the UK

16 November 2012 | Kavit Majithia


France Telecom has opened itself up for flotation next year in the UK through its EE mobile operator.

It could happen at the end of next year, according to Gervais Pellissier, deputy chief executive at France Telecom, but he did confirm both parent companies; France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom will remain as controlling shareholders.

The Financial Times says the news will spark interest from investors and advisors alike, with analysts giving the company an enterprise value of over £10 billion. EE has already generated interest for private equity in the past.

Pellissier said there was no urgency regarding a possible floatation, and any sale, even a minority stake, is thought to set to generate large amounts of cash considering the tough operating conditions for both parent companies. Tom Alexander, the former chief executive of the joint entity has already been in talks with numerous private equity companies regarding a buyout, and the FT says there is still private equity interest in the group.

EE will be the first company in the UK to roll out 4G this year, but it has said they are facing some initial access issues.

The company is also on target to make cost savings of £3.5 billion as a result of the Orange, T-Mobile merger in the UK.