Despite indications of interest from UK telecoms giant Vodafone Group, Spanish cableco Grupo Corporativo ONO is pressing ahead with plans to pursue an initial public offering (IPO). Bloomberg reports that ONO’s directors did not discuss the matter of a takeover at a meeting held on 11 February, and instead the company’s private equity shareholders will now meet on 13 March to approve the listing plan. In line with previous reports, ONO foresees a valuation of between EUR7 billion and EUR8 billion (USD9.64 billion and USD11.01 billion), according to people familiar with the matter. With the Spanish operator said to be aiming to list immediately before Easter, should everything go to plan, this would still give any potential suitors around four weeks before the process begins.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late-January 2014 it was rumoured that Vodafone Group was mulling the acquisition of ONO, while just a few days later it was then claimed that it could face competition from Liberty Global in the race for the Spanish cableco. It was said at that time that Investment funds Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee Partners, CCMP Capital Advisors, and Quadrangle Capital, which together own a combined 54% stake in ONO, were holding ongoing talks with both Vodafone and Liberty Global. However, with ONO then still examining its options for an IPO, one banking source was cited as saying that the suitors could have to come in with a bid between ten and twelve times the expected valuation of the company should they want to win out over the plan to list.