LONDON Feb 3 The owners of EE, Britain's
biggest mobile network, are close to appointing banks to advise
on a flotation, The Sunday Times reported, citing industry and
EE was created when France Telecom combined its
Orange brand in Britain with Deutsche Telekom's
T-Mobile in 2010.
Initially, the companies struggled to realise the
efficiencies expected from the merger, but the situation has
improved in the last year, and the group launched Britain's
first superfast 4G mobile network in October.
The Sunday Times said the companies were weeks away from
appointing advisers for an IPO, with Morgan Stanley
expected to be the lead underwriter and JP Morgan and
Barclays also taking prominent roles.
Both companies were expected to sell 25 percent of the
venture for more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) each in a
London listing that could come in the final quarter of the year,
the newspaper said.
Both companies have previously told investors that an IPO of
the business was a possibility.
A spokeswoman for Deutsche Telekom declined to comment on
However, she said that while both companies remained
long-term partners in EE, an IPO was a preferred option.
"DT and FT are very confident in the management strategy
which aims to strengthen EE's leading position in the UK,
leverage on the largest 3G network and first 4G network
roll-out, further progress the integration of T-Mobile and
Orange and increase the profitability of this business in the
coming years," she said.
"In that respect DT and FT have decided to conduct a
strategic review on the asset and consider different options
with an IPO as the preferred option."
A spokeswoman for France Telecom also declined to comment on
the report, but she added that the company remained happy with
the progress of EE.