Despite making a bundle from doing just that with O2 Germany
Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica has ruled out the possibility of floating its UK subsidiary, O2, on the London market. Recently, Telefonica itself has struggled to make a profit and has resorted to taking its O2 Germany unit public as part of a move to reduce its €56 billion (£46.5 billion) debt. However, Telefonica’s CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete has dismissed the idea that he would do likewise with the UK operation, claiming the German and British businesses were very different.
“We had invested a lot of money in the German business in the past five years but that was not recognised, so it was a question of crystalising the value,” he said.
“I don’t think the UK business is undervalued.”
When Telefonica Deutschland went public last October, the €1.5 billion offering was five times oversubscribed, making it the biggest in Europe for more than a year.
If its UK counterpart, which has 22.5 million mobile customers, were to be similarly floated it would deliver a much need injection to Telefonica’s finances whose European revenues for the first nine months of 2012 slid 6.4 per cent year-on-year to €22.5 billion ($27.8 billion).
Like other operators, Telefonica has been in the process of removing handset subsidies for new customers in Spain from March 2012 and gradually in the UK in a bid to shore up profits.
Cambridge based mobile payments specialist Bango has forged a global deal with Telefónica for its mobile app stores, improving direct billing. It will link up 350 million Telefonica customers with the Bango payments platform via Telefónica’s BlueVia Payment APIs (Application Programming Interface).
News of the deal sent Bango’s shares soaring more than 10 per cent on London’s AIM market early today [January 17th 2013].