French number-two operator SFR is ready for an IPO, its chairman Stephane Roussel said at a conference this week.
According to Bloomberg, Roussel said SFR’s parent, French media group Vivendi, will decide on the timing of the IPO. “It will be for Vivendi to decide, but I do think we have an equity story to tell. Given our structure and forecasts, we can do an IPO,” Roussel said.
Vivendi has previously said an IPO is an option for SFR but the media group’s finance chief Philippe Capron said in April that the performance of the unit needs to improve first.
Vivendi is trying to move its business away from telecommunications and make SFR more autonomous as part of this, Roussel said. Vivendi also controls games company Activision Blizzard, broadcaster Canal+ and Universal Media Group.
Competition in the French mobile market has intensified since the arrival of Free Mobile as the fourth player in the market at the beginning of 2012.
SFR has simplified its structure and cut jobs to better position itself and expects to cut expenses by €500 million by the end of 2014. Roussel said SFR is open to sharing parts of its network and partnering with rivals on a non-merger basis.
Vivendi is currently considering bids for Morocco’s largest operator Maroc Telecom, in which it has a 53 per cent stake. The two bidders for the stake are Ooredoo and Etisalat, with Vivendi chairman Jean-Rene Fourtou saying in in May that the sale should be completed by the autumn.
However, Vivendi suspended the sale in March of GVT, a fixed telecoms operator in Brazil, because bids were short of its €8 billion asking price. SFR was also linked with a deal to merge with cable provider Numericable in October 2012.