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Neuf Cegetel Floats Higher

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
10/25/2006
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Neuf Cegetel Group (Euronext: NEUF) got a solid start to life as a public company today, seeing its share price rise as much as 8.6 percent on its debut on the Euronext Paris.

The French carrier netted €818 million (US$1.03 billion) from its IPO of 37 million shares, equivalent to an 18.5 percent stake in the company. It priced the offering at €22.08 ($27.70) per share, the upper end of its previously announced price range, which rose to €23.98 ($30.09) soon after the market opened. (See IPO News: Acme Soars, Neuf Preps .)

The offering was oversubscribed 15 times, and the company has granted an over-allotment option, raising the total stake on offer to more than 40 million shares, or around 20.5 percent.

Utility company Suez SA says it has sold its 11.87 percent stake in the operator, as part of the IPO, for €500 million ($627.35 million). Neuf Cegetel's largest shareholder is Vivendi's mobile telecom unit, SFR , which holds a 40 percent stake.

Neuf Cegetel says it will use part of the proceeds to finance the €288 million ($361.35 million) acquisition of AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL)'s French business announced last month. (See Neuf Cegetel Heads for IPO and Neuf Cegetel Buys AOL France.) The carrier's shares closed the day 3.9 percent higher at €22.94 ($28.78).

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

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