Telefónica, the Spanish telecommunications enterprise, is looking to shrink its debt by starting an initial public offering for O2 and a partial IPO of its Telxius infrastructure business.
In May 2016, the corporation almost inked a deal with CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd, which was supposed to purchase O2. The European Commission vetoed the company's sale, arguing that the takeover would artificially inflate prices while offering fewer choices for UK customers.
When the Commission rejected the deal, its value was gauged at about $14 billion.
Since then, Telefónica executives kept looking for alternative options to pull the company out of debt.
Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, chairman at Telefónica, talks about the measures taken by the board.
"We have been working to list it, so if today or in the next few weeks we decided to do so, we could do it by year's end," Pallete notes.
The statement was made on Sunday, Sept. 4, in Santander, Spain.
On Monday, the company mentioned that despite wanting to start an IPO for O2, it will remain as the main shareholder.
In a separate filing on Sept. 5, Telefónica mentions that it is undertaking steps for the start of an IPO regarding its Telxius infrastructure unit, which will take place with a minimum 25 percent free float. The company awaits regulatory approval, touting that it has everything in place to debut the IPO before the end of the year.
Keep in mind that Telefónica counts more than €50 billion ($55.78 billion) in debt, a number that caused quite a few credit-rating firms and investors to raise their eyebrows.
Telefónica's chairman affirms that although the debt is a problem that requires addressing, the company is solid when it comes to its annual dividend of 84 cents.
Following the statement, the company's shares gained 1 percent in Monday morning trading in Madrid. With the increase in stock value, the company reached a value of €46 ($51.35 billion). As a reminder, the shares of the company lost as much as 9 percent in 2016.
Pallete expects his company to have a better free cash flow and operating income in 2017 compared to the current year. However, he did not go into details about what figures he expects to see from Telefónica.
Despite existing plans to have Telxius go through an IPO, Telefónica postponed them as the UK took a vote on leaving the European Union on June 23. It was no surprise that the Yes vote rocked stock indexes, causing a worldwide drop.