Telefonica interested in HanseNet, United Internet

16 Mar 2009

According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has expressed an interest in buying Telecom Italia’s German broadband unit, HanseNet, and local rival internet service provider (ISP) United Internet. The acquisitions would transform Telefonica into incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT’s) biggest fixed line competitor in the German market. The Spanish company operates a network infrastructure linked to 1.3 million German households as a wholesaler to other telecom operators and also owns cellco O2 Germany.

Telecom Italia is reported to be holding talks with several interested parties on the sale of HanseNet, including UK-based Vodafone Group and Turkey’s Turkcell. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, HanseNet had a broadband subscriber base of 2.34 million at the end of December 2008, and analysts have valued the company at around EUR1.1 billion (USD1.42 billion).

In February 2009 Telecom Italia chief executive Franco Bernabe confirmed that HanseNet, along with its Sparkle underwater cable business and 27% share in Cuban telco ETECSA, were up for sale: ‘I have always maintained that Telecom Italia’s portfolio must be rationalised, so we have put together an important plan of sales which principally regards HanseNet, Sparkle and ETECSA.’