Numericable prepares listing for early Nov - sources
* IPO could value Numericable around 5 bln euros-sources
* Altice, Cinven, Carlyle are owners of Numericable
* Numericable has 1.3 bln customers, covers 1/3 of France
By Sophie Sassard, Matthieu Protard and Leila Abboud
LONDON/PARIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Cable operator Numericable is preparing a stock market listing that could value the private equity-backed firm at about 5 billion euros ($6.6 billion) and take place in early November, two people close to the situation said.
With the listing, Numericable's owners - Cinven, Carlyle and Altice Group, which is owned by entrepreneur Patrick Drahi - are seeking to ride a wave of investor interest in European cable operators as they take broadband market share from traditional telecom companies.
Dutch cable group Ziggo drew strong demand for its listing last year and other cable assets enjoy premium valuations because they are considered takeover targets. Vodafone has bought two cable operators in the past 18 months, most recently Kabel Deutschland for 7.7 billion euros.
Numericable will hold a conference for analysts on Thursday in Paris and is expected to hold investor roadshows in late September. French radio and website BFM first reported details of the analyst conference to prepare the initial public offering (IPO).
The sources said the group was aiming for a valuation of 8-9 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). In comparison, the six listed cable companies in Europe had an average valuation of 8.4 times estimated EBITDA for 2013 and 8.1 times 2014 EBITDA, according to analysts at Espirito Santo investment bank.
"We have had early talks with big investors in the sector in Europe and gotten good initial feedback," said one of the sources.
Numericable covers 9.9 million homes, roughly one third of households in France, offering packages of pay-TV, Internet and fixed calls. Its Completel unit sells high-speed broadband to corporate clients.
With 1.3 million customers, it grew revenues by 3.8 percent to 453 million euros in the first half of the year, while operating profit stayed stable at 230 million euros. Numericable competes for broadband and TV customers with market leader Orange, Iliad, and Vivendi's SFR.
Numericable has secured permission from its lenders to merge its enterprise unit Completel into its consumer business before doing the IPO, sources earlier told Reuters.
A merged company could be worth up to 5 billion euros based on a multiple of around 8 times Numericable's 2012 core earnings of 456 million euros, plus 181 million euros for Completel.
Numericable has around 2.3 billion euros of debt and Completel approximately 450 million euros of debt.
Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are leading the operation for Numericable, according to French media reports.
JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and Credit Agricole are expected to underwrite the listing, said the two sources.
Numericable held talks over a merger with Vivendi's SFR, France's second-biggest mobile operator, last year but they fell apart over valuation and opposition from Vivendi's largest shareholder Vincent Bollore.
Some analysts believe that Numericable remains an attractive takeover target for SFR or third-place mobile operator Bouygues as both seek to bolster their broadband services to blunt fierce competition in the French market.
Altice did not return calls for comment on Monday. Carlyle and Cinven declined to comment.
A spokesman for Numericable, from Brunswick public relations agency, declined to comment.
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