Numericable ‘set to go public’

French cable operator Numericable has hired Rothschild to advise it on a public flotation, according to French press reports.

Financial daily Les Echos reported that the cable operator plans to launch its IPO this year, citing four sources close to the matter.

According to the paper, the decision to float the company follows the failure of talks that could have resulted in a merger with Vivendi-backed telco SFR.

The move, through which Numericable’s backers reportedly hope to raise up to €5 billion, comes amidst renewed interest from the financial sector in the cable industry in Europe following Liberty Global’s acquisition of Virgin Media and Vodafone’s €7.2 billion offer for Kabel Deutschland.

There was speculation four months ago that Numericable’s owners, Carlyle, Cinven and Patrick Drahi were preparing to make an offer to acquire SFR outright, with a plan to merge the two operators at a later date.