It's official -- Europe's cable sector is hot.
Following a year of major M&A activity and the public listing of Dutch MSO Ziggo B.V. in March 2012, French cable operator Numericable-SFR looks set to announce its own IPO plans on Thursday, September 19. The move comes after France's largest MSO appointed Rothschild earlier this year to prepare a listing on the Paris stock exchange. (See Euronews: Vodafone Clears Hurdle to Kabel Bid and Liberty Makes $23.3B Play for Virgin Media.)
According to the latest Reuters report, which cites unnamed sources, the French operator, currently owned by the Altice Group and private equity firms The Carlyle Group LLC and Cinven Ltd. , intends to become a public company as early as November. The expected IPO could value Numericable at about €5 billion (US$6.68 billion). (See Carlyle Seals French Deal.)
The current owners have been looking for an exit for a while. (See Euronews: SFR, Numericable Discuss Merger.)
Numericable had just over 1.3 million customers at the end of the first quarter of this year, 993,000 of which subscribed to more than one service. It reported revenues of €874 million ($1.17 billion) and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of €456 million ($609 million) for the full year 2012.
To remain viable in what is an intensely competitive pay-TV and broadband market, Numericable has invested for some time in state-of-the-art video delivery and DOCSIS 3.0 technology to offer leading-edge TV, video-on-demand, and broadband services. The MSO recently expanded its 200Mbit/s broadband service to Lyon, Marseille, and Nantes, as well as Paris.
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— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading