By Sophie Sassard
LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - The private equity owners of Numericable have hired Rothschild to work on a Paris stock market debut this year that could value the French cable operator at up to 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion), four sources with knowledge of the plan said.
The funds - Cinven, Carlyle and Altice Group - have yet to appoint bookrunners for the listing and are expected to pick three additional banks in the coming weeks, the sources said.
Numericable could be worth up to 5 billion euros based on a multiple of around 8 times its 2012 core earnings of 456 million euros plus 181 million euros for Completel, the business-to-business infrastructure-based telecommunications unit it acquired in 2007, two of the sources said.
The share sale would provide an exit for Numericable’s private equity owner Cinven, while another fund, Carlyle, and Altice’s owner, cable entrepreneur Patrick Drahi, might decide to keep their stakes, the people said.
The plan to float Numericable came after talks to merge with Vivendi’s mobile unit, SFR, failed earlier this year. The funds are now hoping to benefit from investors’ appetite for cable assets in Europe, as illustrated by Vodafone’s bid approach to Kabel Deutschland.
Dutch cable group Ziggo drew strong demand for its listing last year and Europe’s biggest cable operator, Liberty Global, in February agreed a deal to buy Britain’s Virgin Media for $15.8 billion.
Numericable, Cinven, Carlyle declined to comment while Altice and Rothschild were not immediately available for comment.