The Swedish investor EQT is allegedly interested in acquiring KPN. Bloomberg News Agency reports, based on insider information, that the Swedes are talking to advisers about the possibilities. The telecom company itself and the investor refuse to comment.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, the discussions between EQT and the advisors were still in an early phase. As a result, it is not yet certain whether the Swedes will actually come forward with an offer.
The market value of KPN is over EUR 9 billion, making it the largest acquisition ever made by EQT. That the Swedes see opportunities in the telecom world is known. Previously, the company with its head office in Stockholm had billions of euros for Zayo Group, a company active in fibre networks. EQT also invested in the Dutch DELTA Fiber.
But those who want to recruit KPN can only do so in consultation with the company itself and the Dutch government. The telecom company is protected, among other things, by the foundation Preference Shares B. set up in 1994 at the KPN Stock Exchange and acts as a kind of watchdog for the company’s interests. This way, the foundation can act when a hostile buyer comes up.
The latter happened in 2013. At that time, the Mexican telecom group América Móvil of billionaire Carlos Slim saw an attempt to take over KPN beaches. The attempt to enlist caused a lot of fuss in politics in The Hague, because of the fear that important Dutch infrastructure could just fall into foreign hands. The Ministry of Economic Affairs does not wish to respond to the new market rumours upon request.
In recent years there has been more speculation about further consolidation in the telecommunications sector. Only last year, rumours surfaced that the Canadian investor Brookfield was talking to the Dutch pension investors APG and PGGM about a bid for KPN. In the Netherlands, KPN faces increasing competition from VodafoneZiggo and the T-Mobile/Tele2 merger. Both rivals are already the product of a unity of forces between several parties.