Dutch cable giant, UPC is to float chello, its broadband Internet subsidiary. The move is expected to herald rapid expansion of its services in Europe and Latin America.
UPC, which this month announced the takeover of TV group SBS Broadcasting, said that chello will probably be floated in the next three months. It declined to put a value on the operation, but financial analysts said $9.7bn (euros10bn) is a possible target. The shares will be simultaneously listed in Amsterdam and New York. The sale will be handled by Goldman Sachs International, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and ING Barings.
Chello delivers video, sound and text through local-language portals and provides Internet services to cable TV networks. It is currently trialling services over satellite and DSL phone lines. Its ability to deliver new operations such as video-on-demand and wireless Internet services are boosted by the content and acquisitions might brought by the SBS takeover.
Currently operational in seven European countries and through a joint venture in Australia, chello plans an aggressive expansion into the parts of Europe where it is absent - notably the UK and East Europe, and into Latin America, where it has a toe-hold in Brazil.