Monday, 18 October 2021

Salt puts the brakes on IPO plan

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 27 September 21

The move comes as the European market is increasingly saturated by initial public offerings (IPOs) at lofty valuations, with investor interest beginning to wane

Back in June, reports suggested that Swiss telecoms group Salt was targeting a stock market floatation this autumn that would value the company at around $2.7 billion. At the time, it was reported that Salt’s billionaire owner Xavier Niel was seeking an exit from his investment. Now…

Back in June, reports suggested that Swiss telecoms group Salt was targeting a stock market floatation this autumn that would value the company at around $2.7 billion. At the time, it was reported that Salt’s billionaire owner Xavier Niel was seeking an exit from his investment.

Now, however, sources speaking to Bloomberg suggest that the plan for an IPO could be shelved. The European market has seen a flurry of IPOs in recent months with ambitious valuations, but investors are beginning to grow more cautious, instead coming to favour high-growth stocks.

Salt is now “exploring all options for financing the next stage of its development”, according to sources, who did not rule out the possibility of the company returning to the IPO at a later date.

In a statement, Salt itself reiterated that no decision had been made. 

Salt’s position in the Swiss market is relatively unclear right now. Swisscom still dominates the national telecoms market by a large margin, but Liberty Global’s acquisition of Sunrise for $7.4 billion last year, with the intention of merging it with cable unit UPC, means Salt has fallen even more firmly into third place.

Nonetheless, the telco reported promising financial results in its latest Q2 earnings numbers and a recent fibre-to-the-home partnership with Swisscom means that the company is still in a strong position for growth over the coming months. 

The Swiss market is not the only one potentially undergoing some form of shakeup as a result of Xavier Niel’s influence. The billionaire is currently in the process of taking Iliad Group private, seeking to purchase the 29% of shares he does not already own. 

Meanwhile, just last week, Iliad Group itself purchased Liberty Global’s Polish fibre company UPC Polska for $1.8 billion, seeking to merge its assets with Play, the Polish mobile company they acquired last year for $4.3 billion.

 

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