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O2 Germany takes to the stock market with biggest IPO since 2007

Mobile operator O2 Germany went public today - earning its Spanish parent Telefonica around €1.45bn and marking one of the biggest stock market floats in years for the country.
Written by Moritz Jaeger, Contributor

Spanish mobile company Telefonica today floated its German subsidiary O2 on the country's stock exchange.

Some 20 minutes after the first shares were issued on Tuesday on the Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt, O2 Germany's stock climbed €5.70 per share - 10 cents over the official issuing price of €5.60. At the time of writing, the price is hovering around €5.75.

The IPO has been good news for Rene Schuster, CEO of Telefonica Deutschland. "We are very pleased with the strong demand for our shares," Schuster told the press. According to German financial magazine Handelsblatt, Telefonica could earn as much as €1.45bn from the IPO of O2 Germany.

O2 initial public offering
Rene Schuster, CEO of Telefonica Deutschland, rings the bell, marking the start of the public trading of his company's shares. Credit: O2

According to Financial Times Deutschland, most of the earnings from the floatation will used to help pay off Telefonica's €58bn debt.

O2 is the smallest of the four main mobile operators in Germany. The biggest by far is Deutsche Telekom, followed by Vodafone and E-Plus. However, its IPO has been the biggest stock market flotation in Germany since 2007, as well as the biggest in Europe since July 2011.

But not everything is well in Germany for O2. A forthcoming new service by its Spanish parent is attracting the attention of Thilo Weichert, the data protection commissioner for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

In Spain, Telefonica has announced it's planning to sell anonymised location data from its customers to advertisers – a plan that concerns Weichert, according to Handelsblatt because of the highly sensitive nature of such information. It's not yet known when, or if, the service launch in Germany.

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