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O2 IPO set to call on retail investors

Billy Bambrough
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O2 customers that buy shares in the company could be less likely to switch provider
O2 customers that buy shares in the company could be less likely to switch provider (Source: Getty)

Mobile network O2 is planning on making millions of shares available to retail investors when it lists later this year.

It’s hoped demand from O2’s 25m strong customer base will push up the stock market value of the company to around the £10.25bn that O2 owner Telefonica agreed to sell the business to Three owner Hutchison for last year.

The European Union’s regulators poured cold water on a sale as it would have reduced competition in the market, taking the number of major mobile networks down to three from four.

A final decision to float the business has not yet been made, and it’s thought that if market conditions deteriorate the plans could be put on hold. Investors have raised fears that the US election in November could trigger volatility in global markets.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph O2 chief executive Mark Evans said he was aiming to be “ready as soon as possible” to sell a minority stake on the London Stock Exchange.

Telefonica is seeking to reduce its debt pile with the listing, though Evans and O2 representatives have been keen to stress the planned listing is “not a fire sale”.

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