You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

France’s Numericable Set For IPO

Gallic cable player subject of takeover speculation

MADRID  – After Vodafone’s $10 billion takeover of Germany’s Kabel Deutschland and Liberty Global’s $16 billion acquisition of the U.K.’s Virgin Media, France’s Numericable is looking to cash in – literally – on the craze for European cable.

France’s biggest cable TV operator, offering bundled quad-play – TV, Internet, fixed and cell telephony – to clients, Numericable has begun to launch an Initial Public Offering, the biggest on the Paris Bourse since 2009, seeking to sell a minimum 25% of its shares.

Pricing – which will see Numericable shares sell at Euros20.3-Euros24.8 ($28.0 – $34.2), valuing Numericable at up to $7.7 billion, will take place Nov. 7. Trading is skedded for a day later.

With the stock market listing, Numericable aims to raise around Euros652 million ($906 million). It may well achieve that goal: Reuters reported Tuesday, citing two sources close to the deal, that the public listing was already totally subscribed.

The big question, however, is whether Numericable is making hay while the sun still shines.

While the biggest cable player in France, Numericable still pales before larger Gallic telco broadband players: France Telecom-Orange, Free and Vivendi’s SFR.

Slumping from 2008’s 1.55 million, Numericable’s retail sub base finally picked up last quarter 2012, thanks to the introduction of a new “La Box” router and TV set-top box and a tail-off in analogue customer churn.

Numericable has said it will use IPO proceeds to pay off part of onerous debt of $3.8 billion and to complete the upgrade of its fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) and DOCSIS 3.0 high-speed network.

For its IPO, Numericable has not made extravagant promises to investors: a 2%-5% per-year sales growth through to 2016; finalization of its network upgrade; an addition of 200,000-250,000 subs.

But it looks set for bigger competition in the future. Currently, its French rivals, that are also upgrading, have access to only about 20% of Numericable’s footprint, which covers about a third of French households, said one analyst. That figure will rise in three years time to about 60%.

“The problem is Numericable is a much smaller company than Virgin Media and Kabel Deutschland, it hasn’t had the resources to leverage its better network and to invest in TV content and is in a much less favorable position for growth in the future,” the analyst added.

He pointed to the fact that Numericable currently doesn’t have the money to offer dominant French broadcaster TF1’s catch-up TV service.

Even with an IPO, Numericable’s lure predicates some kind of merger that would allow its partner to fully exploit Europe’s gathering appetite for four-play offers.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Ayesha Curry and Stephen Curry attends

    Ayesha Curry Honored With Variety's Vivant Tastemaker Award at Napa Valley Film Festival

    The rooftop bar at the tony Archer Hotel in the heart of downtown Napa made a stunning backdrop for Variety’s Vivant party on Nov. 13. Vivant was launched at the Napa Valley Film Festival, which opened Nov. 13 with “Just Mercy.”  Variety executive VP of content Steven Gaydos introduced Variety Vivant Tastemaker honoree Ayesha Curry [...]

  • Dwayne Johnson

    Dwayne Johnson's 'Black Adam' Movie Sets Release Date

    Dwayne Johnson’s long-in-development “Black Adam” movie is slated to hit theaters just in time for the holidays. The New Line Cinema film film will debut on Dec. 22, 2021, five days after the release of James Cameron’s long-gestating “Avatar” sequel. Johnson has been attached to play the anti-hero for most of this decade. Jaume Collet-Serra, [...]

  • Sponge on the Run Trailer

    SpongeBob SquarePants Meets Keanu Reeves in 'Sponge on the Run' Trailer

    Millennials and Gen-Zers, say goodbye to the David Hasselhoff “SpongeBob” cameos of your childhood. According to the “Sponge on the Run” trailer, Keanu Reeves, or rather his floating head, will make an appearance in the upcoming film premiering May 22, 2020. The latest film in the SpongeBob franchise follows the yellow sponged hero and his [...]

  • CineAsia Conference Canceled Due to Hong

    CineAsia Conference Scrubbed Due to Hong Kong Protests

    Film Expo Group has scrubbed next month’s CineAsia conference hosted in Hong Kong, citing escalating violence in the city. “Due to the escalating violence and on-going anti-government protesting we felt it was in the best interest of all concerned to cancel the convention,” said Robert Sunshine, chairman of the Film Expo Group in a statement [...]

  • Margot Robbie Big Ticket Podcast

    Margot Robbie Was 'Pretty Rattled' After Reading the 'Bombshell' Script for the First Time

    Margot Robbie took to Twitter to prepare for her role as a conservative news producer and aspiring broadcast journalist for Fox News in “Bombshell.” “Understanding her upbringing and her point of view on politics in the world, that really took me a minute,” Robbie says on today’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content