INTERNATIONAL – Orange SA, France’s biggest phone company, picked BNP Paribas SA and Morgan Stanley to advise on a proposed initial public offering of its Middle East and Africa business, people familiar with the matter said.
The banks are helping with preparations for the listing, though an underwriting syndicate hasn’t yet been formalised, the people said. Orange plans to invite more banks to join the deal at a later stage, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
The deal is poised to be one of the biggest listings to come out of the Middle East and Africa in 2020. Orange is considering London and Paris as potential venues for the share sale, which could take place as soon as the first half of this year, the people said.
The company would follow Bharti Airtel’s Africa unit and Helios Towers Plc in seeking to tap a wider investor base and raise capital for expansion. Any transaction will add to the $26.5 billion of IPOs in Europe over the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.