Swisscom opts out of debitel

4 May 2004

Swisscom says it is to sell its 95% stake in German virtual network operator (VNO) debitel to private equity company Permira for USD767 million; the interest includes the 2% holding previously acquired from Electronic Partner. For a long time Swisscom has seen debitel purely as a financial investment: as a network-independent operator debitel provides mobile, fixed line and internet access services to over ten million customers and employs around 3,100 staff across Europe. Swisscom acquired a 74.2% stake in the VNO in 1999 and later increased this to 93%. Swisscom and debitel expected to benefit from synergies between their operations, but differences in their business models soon emerged, exacerbated by the poor performance of European mobile operators after the auction of UMTS licences.

Germany, debitel, Swisscom