French Cloud Hosting Provider OVH Plans IPO Next Year

OVH Groupe SAS, the French cloud-computing provider, is preparing for a potential initial public offering early next year, according to people familiar with the matter, as European companies make tentative plans for a return to the capital markets.

The company has mandated Rothschild & Co. as an adviser to help with preparations for an IPO, the people said, asking not to be identified as discussions are private. Other banks will soon be invited to pitch for roles on the deal, the people said.

Roubaix, France-based OVH is targeting a Paris listing, according to one of the people. Deliberations are at an early stage and details on timing could change, the people said. A representative for OVH declined to comment. A representative for Rothschild didn’t immediately provide comment.

Europe has been enduring its worst year in more than decade for IPOs amid the coronavirus crisis. While the pandemic has created an uncertain business outlook and lessened investor appetite for new listings in the region, there are signs of a possible recovery on the horizon.

Beauty retailer The Hut Group Ltd. and Knaus Tabbert AG, a German maker of camper vans and motor homes, are among companies that have announced listing plans in recent weeks. Auto1 Group GmbH, the German online used-car platform, is close to appointing banks for a potential 1 billion-euro ($1.2 billion) IPO in Frankfurt next year, Bloomberg News reported this week.

OVH is a Europe-grown rival to Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud business that has also been expanding in the U.S. It leases out storage and processing power to customers such as tire-maker Michelin and British rail ticket retailer Trainline, according to its website. The company was founded in 1999 by Octave Klaba. In 2016, private equity firms KKR & Co. and TowerBrook Capital Partners took a minority stake in the business for 250 million euros.

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