Mobile operator EE could be set for an initial public offering (IPO) after its parent companies Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom both chose banks to advise them on such a plan, according to Reuters.
France Telecom has apparently enlisted the support for Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, while Deutsche Telekom is expected to hire JP Morgan, given the two worked together when the EE joint-venture was formed by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in 2010.
The former is apparently more willing to listen to offers, although both would welcome the money given the need to invest in next-generation fixed and mobile networks. In any case, many analysts see the joint-venture as short-term.
Former boss Tom Alexander has been in talks with private equity groups about a possible bid, while US telecommunications company AT&T has also been linked with a bid as it seeks to expand into Europe.
KKR and CBC Capital Partners have also reportedly been in discussions with banks to raise money for a potential £9 billion buyout of EE, but any takeover bid would be ambitious given the size of the business.
EE currently has 27 million customers and is the largest mobile operator in the UK in terms of subscribers. It also currently operates the UK’s only 4G service, adding 201,000 new customers since it launched last October. However, in its most recent results, it also posted a £191 loss in 2012.
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