Arqiva, the UK’s largest owner of mobile, TV and radio masts, has picked four of the City’s biggest names to explore a mammoth stock market listing.
A float of the business, valuing the firm at around £6bn, is one half of a twin-track process being run by Arqiva’s backers, with a private sale being the alternative.
City A.M. understands the chosen sales strategy could heavily influence Arqiva’s future operational priorities.
Barclays, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JP Morgan have been hired to oversee a float, Sky News reported.
Arqiva’s current owners are the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (with a 48 per cent stake), infrastructure giant Macquarie (25 per cent) and a handful of smaller Australian institutional investors.
Read more: Arqiva looks beyond masts and towers
A private sales process was formally kicked off in May. This followed extensive pre-marketing in the preceding weeks.
It is understood that execs at Arqiva are hopeful some of the private suitors could be interested in leveraging the firm’s extensive telecoms infrastructure to make it a heavyweight rival to BT subsidiary Openreach.
But a float may stymie extensive expansion. In the nine months to March, Arqiva generated £326m of operating cash flow after investing activities. With markets looking favourably on steady dividend streams, a listing could see a preference from future shareholders of limiting large investment and sweating assets instead.
A spokesperson for Arqiva declined to comment.