News that Danish telecoms operator TDC and its majority owner Nordic Telephone Company will merge indicates NTC plans to float the operator, the second-biggest owner said on Thursday.

This is a clear sign they are preparing for an IPO. They wouldn't need to optimise the capital structure for an industrial sale, said Bjaarne Graven, head of funds at Danish pension fund ATP which holds a 5.5 percent stake in TDC as of Oct. 31.

TDC said on Thursday it would merge with NTC with the purpose to simplify the group structure and to optimise TDC's capital structure.

TDC, which has been widely tipped as a candidate for a big stock offering, said last week NTC, a partnership of private equity firms which owns 88 percent of the operator, had begun reviewing strategic alternatives for the company.

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)