BARCELONA (Reuters) - France Telecom could look at options for its British joint venture mobile operator EE at the end of next year, including listing some shares or bringing in a minority investor, its CFO said.
France Telecom FTE.PA owns half of EE, Britain’s largest mobile operator, with Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE).
“There is clearly a long-term commitment of the two shareholders even if there might have been some uncertainties in the past whether we would stay or not,” said Gervais Pellissier, the chief financial officer of France Telecom.
Pellissier said both shareholders wanted to remain in control of EE.
“There could be some space at the end of next year to look at something,” he said at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in Barcelona on Thursday.
France Telecom Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard told Bloomberg on Thursday that the group had received “many” expressions of interest on EE from private equity funds that he declined to name.
A France Telecom spokesman confirmed Richard’s comments.
A former boss of EE, Tom Alexander, spoke to private equity firms including KKR (KKR.N), CVC and Providence about putting together a buyout earlier this year. But he gained little traction for a bid, sources told Reuters at the time.
Reporting by Kate Holton and Leila Abboud; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford