By Phil Serafino
OVH Group SAS kicked off an initial public offering in Paris, looking to raise as much as 400 million euros ($469 million) that will give the cloud-storage provider funding to finance its competition with Amazon.com Inc. and accelerate its international expansion.
Existing holders will also sell shares in the IPO, the company said in a statement Monday. OVH was valued at more than $1 billion in 2016, when KKR & Co. and TowerBrook Capital Partners took a combined 20% stake in the business.
OVH leases out storage and processing power to customers such as tiremaker Michelin and the French presidential palace. Besides Amazon Web Services, its competitors include Microsoft Corp.’s Azure division and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud.
The listing is part of a flurry of French IPOs this fall as companies take advantage of buoyant markets. Cybersecurity provider Exclusive Networks and private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners are taking orders for their offerings, while health-care property firm Icade Sante and Casino Guichard Perrachon SA’s renewable-energy arm GreenYellow have said they also plan to list.
The company said in June it had begun preparations for a stock-market listing. Founder Octave Klaba and his family own 76% of the company and plan to remain majority shareholders after the offering.
OVH, based in Roubaix near the Belgian border, has been laying the groundwork for an IPO for years. The company in 2018 hired veteran telecommunications executive Michel Paulin as chief executive officer. It ran into a setback this year when a fire destroyed one of four data centers in Strasbourg, France, and damaged another.
Klaba started the business in 1999, opening his first storage site in Paris with a loan from telecom entrepreneur Xavier Niel. His parents, immigrants from Poland, joined the company in its early years, and his brother, Miroslaw Klaba, is research and development director, according to OVH’s website.
BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and KKR Capital Markets are global coordinators, along with bookrunners Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale SA, while CIC is co-lead manager.
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