EQT has another big purchase in mind, if they can convince the right people. A Bloomberg report came out over the weekend detailing the Swedish private equity firm’s plans to make a bid for the Dutch incumbent. The company’s current market value of about $11B is at low ebb, making the idea increasingly alluring.
EQT owns a variety of assets in the telecommunications and internet infrastructure space. They are half of the team that bought Zayo of course, but they also own IP-Only into which they merged GlobalConnect last year, as well as inexio and Deutsche Glasfaser. Still pending is a planned purchase of the edge data center provider EdgeConneX. If you add KPN to the combined European edge footprint of of those companies, you begin to see where the attraction lies for a KPN deal.
Of course, buying KPN has proven to be difficult over the years. The Dutch government gave itself veto power over any deal earlier this year, and in the past they have used their leverage leverage in ways that has kept potential buyers out. Remember when Carlos Slim and America Movil took on the challenge? EQT may be a more familiar buyer, one that the Dutch government may be more comfortable with — if they can work out a price. I expect that will not be an easy conversation.
KPN has sold off most of its non-Dutch assets over the years. For example, Tofane Global purchased iBasis in 2018 and GTT bought KPN International just last year. Speaking of GTT, I wonder what’s holding things up over there…
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