Telefónica "will not float O2 UK until 2017"
UK boss says Spanish parent company is "prepared but not committed" to a 2017 IPO
Telefónica is unlikely to launch an IPO of its UK arm until 2017 due to market conditions, according to O2 CEO Mark Evans.
Evans, who took the reins at O2 UK over the summer, said Telefónica was “prepared but not committed” to floating its UK assets in a deal expected to raise around £10 billion for the Spanish telco.
Speaking after Telefónica’s latest financial results, Evans said the touted sale of O2 would be dependent on the performance of the UK economy, and could be impacted by UK government plans to leave the European Union following June’s referendum.
“An IPO is a real and distinct opportunity for this business,” said Evans, in a briefing before the company’s third-quarter results, released on 27 October.
“It is being prepared for, as opposed to committed to. I’ll draw that very clear distinction. What you’ve seen over the course of the last six to eight weeks is the market going into some flux. Softening.”
Telefónica has been attempting to offload its UK arm in a bid to alleviate a €50 billion stockpile of debt. Last year, the Spanish operator reached a £10.25 billion deal with CK Hutchison to merge O2 with the Hong Kong giant’s Three UK assets in a move that would have created the biggest operator in the country.