Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has reportedly added a further four banks to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) of its German unit, Bloomberg cites people with knowledge of the process as saying. Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and HSBC Holdings have been hired as bookrunners, according to the unnamed sources. Meanwhile, lead banks UBS and JP Morgan Chase & Co are said to be preparing analyst presentations and may begin gauging investor interest as early as the end of September, the sources said. Telefonica, which is struggling to cut its debt burden amid falling revenue and profit in its domestic market, is looking to raise as much as EUR1.5 billion (USD1.8 billion) from the sale of a potential 20% stake in Telefonica Germany (O2), according to the sources. Telefonica had earlier explored the possibility of a merger of its local unit with E-Plus, the German wireless business of the Netherlands’ KPN Telecom, which at the time was fending off an unsolicited offer by Mexico-based America Movil (AM). However, in June 2012 KPN announced it had failed to find a buyer for E-Plus, citing ‘adverse conditions in financial markets’ as the reason behind the collapse of talks, and shortly after AM succeeded in its bid to increase its stake in the Dutch telco to 28%.
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