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Ono is close to hiring banks for an initial public offering. The Spanish cable operator could pick Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase in the coming weeks for the IPO after inviting banks to bid for the work.
Ono is preparing for a flotation on the Madrid stock exchange that could value the group at as much as €7 billion, including debt. Its move follows a sharp rise in the valuation of cable businesses in the past 12 months, as customer numbers have climbed and internet services adopted alongside the traditional TV platforms. A successful flotation for Numericable in France last year also suggested that investors are willing to pay a high price for ownership of such businesses.
It is possible Ono’s IPO process will be trumped by trade bidders – Vodafone, in particular, is interested in growing its fixed line business in Spain to extend its existing mobile operations.
An acquisition of Ono would be of a similar size and have the same strategic rationale as Vodafone’s deal to buy Germany’s Kabel Deutschland last year.