United Internet subsidiary Ionos plans IPO in Q1

BERLIN/FRANKFURT, Jan 17 (Reuters) - United Internet (UTDI.DE) subsidiary Ionos plans an initial public offering (IPO) this quarter with a Prime Standard listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the web hosting company said on Tuesday.

The offered shares are expected to come from the holdings of the subsidiary's two existing shareholders, United Internet and Warburg Pincus, with United Internet to retain a majority stake after the IPO, Ionos said.

The Frankfurt bourse's Prime Standard listings carry higher transparency requirements than General Standard listings including that all reporting be done in English as well as German.

United Internet shares were up 1.8% to 22.23 euros in early Frankfurt trading.

The intention to float document did not provide details on the target issue price or the number of shares to be offered. Investor meetings will begin on Tuesday.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week that Ionos could achieve a valuation of 5 billion euros ($5.42 billion) in a stake sale.

With largely subscription-based revenue, Ionos generated 1.1 billion euros in 2021. "Sales growth of more than 15% in the past year and a long-term EBITDA margin target of an incredible 30% should arouse investors' curiosity," said Jürgen Molnar, strategist at Brokerage RoboMarkets.

Ionos will consider opportunistic M&A to gain market share and support international expansion, CFO Britta Schmidt said on a conference call on Tuesday.

It would mark the first major European IPO since sports car maker Porsche (P911_p.DE) in September, and would test equity capital markets after dealmaking plunged in 2022.

Technology stocks have slumped amid a global selloff in recent months after seeing a boom during the pandemic.

In 2022, technology IPOs only took up 10.7% of market share, according to Dealogic data.

Ionos, which is based in Montabaur, is a web hosting company offering mass market hosting services, domains, managed hosting and cloud applications to consumers and SMEs in countries including the U.S., Germany, UK, France, Spain and Poland. It was created in October 2018 through the merger of 1&1 Internet and ProfitBricks.

($1 = 0.9234 euros)

Reporting by Emma-Victoria Farr and Hakan Ersen in Frankfurt, writing by Rachel More; editing by Miranda Murray and Jason Neely

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Reports on European M&A with previous experience at Mergermarket, Bloomberg The Daily Telegraph and Deutsche Presse Agentur.