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Shareholders meet to discuss future of Spain’s ONO

ONO’s shareholders are to meet this Thursday to decide whether to press ahead with plans for an IPO or to consider a sale of the Spanish cable operator to Vodafone, according to press reports.

According to the EFE press service, citing unnamed sources close to the process, shareholders will study both the IPO plan and a likely new offer from Vodafone.

The company will press ahead with preparations for an IPO, including the appointment of independent directors, ahead of the meeting, according to the report.

The latest news follows contradictory reports on ONO’s plans over the weekend.

Reuters reported on Friday that Vodafone had reached a preliminary deal to buy ONO, citing two sources with knowledge of the discussions.

However, the Wall Street Journal carried a report on Saturday that said ONO’s shareholders were moving ahead with plans for an IPO amidst uncertainty about Vodafone’s possible offer.

The latest move by Vodafone follows ONO’s rejection of its initial €7 billion (US$9.7 billion) bid, tabled in February. The company’s shareholders decided at the time that an IPO would delivery better value, with analysts arguing that a bid of between €7.5 to €9 billion would be necessary to convince them that a sale offered a better alternative.

Vodafone has plans in place to launch its own fibre network offering in Spain next month.

Investment funds Providence Equity Partners, Thomas H Lee Partners, CCMP Capital Advisors, and Quadrangle Capital together hold a majority of ONO’s shares.