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Telus Corp. has taken the first step toward an initial public offering of its international unit.

The Vancouver-based telecom announced on Friday that its subsidiary, Telus International, has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO. The company plans to file documents with Canadian securities regulators on Jan. 11.

Telus International – which sells information technology, call-centre and other services to businesses – is planning to go public on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. The number of shares and the price range for the offering are still to be determined.

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J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. have been chosen as lead underwriters for the IPO. Barclays, BofA Securities and CIBC Capital Markets will also act as underwriters.

Telus International started 15 years ago as a call-centre operator for Telus and a handful of U.S. telecom and technology companies. Since then, it has expanded into other areas such as developing and supporting mobile applications, as well as building virtual assistants such as chatbots and moderating content online.

Telus first announced its plan to take the international division public in December, 2019, when the telecom struck a deal to beef up the unit through an acquisition of German content moderator Competence Call Center, for $1.3-billion in debt and equity. In November, 2020, Telus International acquired Lionbridge AI, a data-annotation company based in Waltham, Mass., for $1.2-billion.

Telus International had US$1.14-billion in revenue and US$81.9-million in profit in the first nine months of 2020, according to documents filed with the SEC. That doesn’t include the acquisition of Lionbridge AI, which closed at the end of 2020. If Lionbridge AI were included in the results, Telus International would have had US$1.35-billion in revenue and US$78.1-million in profit for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30.

The IPO is expected to be comprised of subordinate voting shares from Telus International’s treasury, as well as a secondary offering of subordinate shares currently owned by Telus Corp. and Baring Private Equity Asia. Telus sold a 35-per-cent stake in the international business to the Hong Kong-based private equity firm in 2016.

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