Sweden-based private equity firm EQT is considering a takeover bid for Dutch fixed and mobile operator KPN, reports Bloomberg quoting anonymous sources who claimed that EQT is in the early stages of discussing the feasibility of a deal with potential advisers. Representatives for EQT and KPN declined to comment.
A potential ownership bid for KPN could face multiple obstacles. The Netherlands passed a law in May 2020 allowing the government to stop or reverse telecoms sector takeovers on national security grounds, while KPN previously fought off a hostile takeover attempt by minority shareholder America Movil in 2013 when an independent foundation representing KPN stakeholders stepped in to block it.
Shares of Amsterdam-listed KPN have fallen 15% this year, giving it a market value of around EUR9.4 billion (USD11.1 billion). KPN, which is valued at about EUR16 billion including debt, has reported declining revenues for more than a decade, with shares trading near an all-time low.
EQT is the controlling shareholder of Dutch broadband operator DELTA Fiber Nederland, and its other existing telecoms subsidiaries include Zayo Group (US/Canada), Melita (Malta/Italy), IP-Only (Sweden), GlobalConnect (Norway), Adamo Telecom Iberia (Spain) and Deutsche Glasfaser (Germany).