AOL ist international ausgerichtet - T-Online aber nicht. Wenn T-Online teurer werden sollte, spielen die Fonds nicht mit.
Friday March 31, 7:59 am Eastern Time
T-Online offer seen losing fund interest above 35 euros/share
By Paul Carrel
FRANKFURT, March 31 (Reuters) - Fresh falls in tech stocks mean Deutsche Telekom has to pitch the offer
price for its Internet unit T-Online at some 35 euros per share to get institutional investors on board, fund
managers said on Friday.
Flotation flops by other Internet firms have put additional pressure on Telekom to price the offer of about 100 million shares in T-Online well
below the levels as high as 50 euros per share previously mooted, they said.
``It should definitely be towards 30 rather than 40,'' said Volker Koester, fund manager at Merck Finck Invest in Munich. ``I would still consider
35 euros pretty expensive. Thirty would be OK, 35 would be expensive and 40 would be way too much.''
A source close to Telekom said on Friday that the bookbuilding range for the T-Online initial public offering was was not yet fixed and would be
decided on at the weekend.
Telekom is due to hold a news conference on Monday to announce the price range for the issue, set to make T-Online by far Europe's most
valuable Internet stock.
At 35 euros per share, the issue would give T-Online a market capitalisation of 38.5 billion euros ($37 billion) and generate 3.5 billion euros in
RIGHT IDEA, WRONG TIME
Investors say the T-Online listing will give the firm stock currency with which to pursue an aggressive acquisitions strategy, but they warn that
Telekom must be sensitive to market conditions for the IPO or else risk the unacceptable -- a flop.
``The environment has changed in the last few weeks and Deutsche Telekom can't afford T-Online to be a flop,'' said Joseph Scarfone, fund
manager at Frankfurt Trust.
He said the maximum he would be prepared to pay at the T-Online issue would be 35-37 euros per share.
The downward revision of what the market considers acceptable for T-Online's issue price comes after shares in ISPs World Online and Lycos
Europe both recently fell from their issue prices.
An issue price of 30 euros per share would value T-Online at 6,600 euros per user, 35 euros per share at 7,700 euros per share and 40 euros per
share at 8,800 euros per user.
U.S. ISP giant AOL (NYSE:AOL - news) is currently valued at around 8,300 euros per user and analysts generally agree that European Internet
stocks should be valued higher than their U.S. counterparts as the European market has more growth potential.
Leading Italian Internet company Tiscali is currently valued at some 7,500 euros per user, around the level fund managers indicate they would be
prepared to pay for T-Online even though the German ISP is Europe's market leader.
TELEKOM NEEDS T-ONLINE FLOAT TO SUCCEED
Telekom needs the T-Online IPO to be a success or else risk losing demand for the listing of its T-Mobile unit later this year and the placement of
further Telekom shares.
``They will have great trouble with other IPOs if this one doesn't go well,'' said Merck Finck Invest's Koester.
Fund managers said the listing should be a success, provided Telekom does not push the IPO price above 35 euros per share. Demand will be
helped by Germans' new-found enthusiasm for shares and the fact that Telekom is only floating around 10 percent of T-Online.
``I feel very comfortable with a valuation of 35 euros per share,'' said Frankfurt Trust's Scarfone. ``Thirty five euros for me would be a good price
with some upside potential afterwards.''