Dutch telecoms group KPN Telecom (or Royal KPN) is driving ahead with plans to sell its Belgian asset BASE, despite objections from America Movil (AM) which now owns almost 30% of the Netherlands-based operation. Dow Jones Newswires reports that relations between KPN and its new strategic investor have become strained by KPN’s decision to push ahead with the disposal plan. Last month the Dutch group hired JPMorgan Case & Co to handle the auction of BASE as part of plans to turn around the ailing group’s fortunes. Initial bids on the Belgian mobile operator are due before the end of July, with interest expected from several buyout firms (possibly Providence Equity Partners and Carlyle Group) as well as Belgian cable operator Telnet Group Holding.
Despite KPN’s willingness to sell BASE it is unclear whether it will result in a formal bid as AM is actively opposed to the sale and only last month said it was attracted to increasing its stake in the Dutch incumbent because ‘the Netherlands and Belgium have high gross domestic product per capita and consumers with relatively low debt compared with other areas of Europe’.