The Belgian-based international network operator BICS and its subsidiary now have two fewer owners. Proximus Group has announced a deal under which it has purchased the stakes of MTN and Swisscom, taking full control of the company.
Proximus is of course what we used to call Belgacom, the incumbent operator that continues to be majority-owned by the Belgian government. BICS was its international arm, and has now been brought in-house. Swisscom had owned 22.4%, while MTN's share was 20%. The transaction was valued at €569M.
Last summer Proximus had said that 51% of BICS's shareholders (meaning Proximus, presumably) was considering a potential sale or other possible strategic moves. It seems that after further consideration, step one in that process was to simplify the ownership structure.
That doesn't mean they won't now sell BICS and/or TeleSign as a followup, but it could also be that they intend to more directly leverage BICS's international infrastructure in a post-COVID Europe. After all, we will get there eventually.
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