EE owners: Yeah, we're cool with things as they are... IPO? Nah, not really
Deutsche Telekom and Orange decide to hang onto Blighty's largest mobile operator
The owners of Blighty's EE mobile operator have said that they're going to hang onto the company for now, delaying potential plans to float the firm or sell off their stakes.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange said they want to maintain the current management structure of the joint venture, which was created in 2010 when the Orange and T-Mobile brands merged.
"Deutsche Telekom and Orange have concluded the 2013 strategic asset review of EE and are very satisfied with EE's progress and financial performance under the leadership of CEO Olaf Swantee and his management team," the firms said in an emailed statement.
"The shareholders have both agreed that the best option for value creation is to maintain the current ownership structure for the time being, and they look forward to continuing their successful cooperation in the UK market."
Both firms had hinted at various points last year that they might think about selling off part of the firm or taking it through an IPO. In February, Orange's CFO Gervais Pellissier said:
We’re looking at putting a small part of EE, maybe 15 or 20 per cent, on the market at the end of 2013 or beginning of next year. Depending on British market conditions as well as EE’s first-half earnings, we’ll judge whether an IPO is fit.
Meanwhile, Deutsche said that it would prefer a partial listing of the company, which launched the first of the UK's 4G mobile networks in 2011.
The companies decided to shelve the IPO plans because they reckon that EE will be worth more when more Brits sign up to the 4G data packages, which have a higher profit margin for the firm than old 3G contracts, knowledgeable people told the Financial Times. ®