PR Team: Orange Media Centre; France Telecom Media Centre; Citigate
Campaign: Orange Share Offer
Timescale: Jan - Feb 2001
Run across four countries in difficult market conditions and against a
backcloth of extensive corporate change, the Orange Share Offer was both
large and complex.
Orange has one of Britain's best-known brands and is the UK's fastest
growing mobile phone service. Orange plc was acquired by Mannesman at
the end of 1999, then by Vodafone in early 2000, and at the end of May
2000, by France Telecom (FT).
The acquisition was followed by the merger of FT's other mobile
interests with Orange plc, and the greatly enlarged Orange Group was
formed in December 2000.
The Orange Share Offer was the largest-ever European corporate IPO, and
boasted simultaneous listings in Paris and London. The telecoms sector
had suffered from a lack of investor enthusiasm following the early
third-generation licence fees and during the offer period technology
stocks were regularly marked down.
In addition, the brand was unknown in three of the four countries in
which the offer was marketed.
To attract substantial over-demand from both retail and institutional
investors, and to protect and build the Orange brand in the UK while
introducing the brand abroad, particularly in France. To co-ordinate the
marketing programmes across four countries while complying with
different regulatory regimes.
Strategy and Plan
A corporate and brand-led campaign and not a traditional mass market
flotation was deemed appropriate as the investment climate was wrong for
a traditional mass-marketed float. Information, not persuasion was the
key phrase, and, as in its first flotation, Orange would set out its
stall and let investors decide if they wished to share in its
'Orangeprint for the future' was devised as the campaign theme and
executed across every communication element - from envelopes to ads.
The communications involved media relations, analyst relations, investor
presentations and roadshows, TV, press and radio advertising; customer
mailings and literature, employee and intermediary communications.
Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign was planned and managed by an integrated team from Orange,
France Telecom and Citigate Dewe Rogerson.
Despite the stock suffering at flotation, due to the state of the
telecoms market and the media criticism this drew, it subsequently
recovered and Orange has since received positive coverage.
Print and broadcast coverage was extensive following the flotation
pre-marketing campaign. It was launched on 8 January with the formal
confirmation of intention to float at a London-based conference for UK,
French, German and Italian journalists.
As the investor roadshows started, market conditions continued to
worsen, but media endorsement remained strong until the offer
The equity offer was oversubscribed 2.6 times. More than one million
individuals had registered for a prospectus, and more than 1.3 million
people applied for and received shares.
The Exchangeable Bond was eight times oversubscribed and France Telecom
received more than pounds 3.85bn of proceeds.