Telefonica reportedly hopes to list about 30 per cent of its O2 unit in the UK as soon as December.
Quoting sources, Reuters said the Spanish operator is planning an IPO before the end of the year, hoping to take advantage of the relative calm on the London stock exchange following earlier Brexit turbulence.
Earlier this month chairman Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete said Telefonica would announce whether it intends a partial sale or listing for its UK unit “in the coming weeks”.
The company has hired UBS, Morgan Stanley and Barclays as global coordinators for the IPO, which could value O2 at about £10 billion. The same three banks were also included in a report over the weekend.
A listing in November has been ruled out because of the possibility of market upheaval following the US presidential election on 8 November. Telefonica would probably delay the IPO until early in 2017 if conditions were still unsettled in December.
The Spanish company decided to maintain majority control of O2 rather than sell it. However, a minority listing would still enable a buyer, such as Liberty Global, to launch a takeover bid, so keeping options open.
Neither Telefonica nor the banks commented.