KPN considers future of Belgian mobile unit

KPN considers future of Belgian mobile unit

Dutch telecoms group KPN has said that it is considering the future of Belgian mobile subsidiary, BASE, following rumours that it had decided to sell the operator.

In a statement on the company’s website, KPN said that it is “continuously reviewing its alternatives in respect of executing its strategy. In this respect, KPN is conducting a comprehensive review of the strategic options in respect of its mobile operations in Belgium (”BASE”).”

The statement went on to say that the outcome of the strategic review was “not yet clear” and a further announcement will be made, if and when appropriate.

Bloomberg reported at the weekend that KPN was considering selling BASE in a deal worth €1.8 billion, and suggested that private equity firms are likely to be interested in an acquisition.

KPN issued a profit warning in January due to declines in fixed and mobile revenues, which may be the reason it is considering a sale.

Analysts believe that rivals Belgacom (Proximus) and France Telecom (Mobistar) would be unlikely to consider purchasing BASE as any deal would be blocked by Belgium’s competition authorities.

In December 2011 Proximus had 38.8% market share, with BASE at 30.7% and Mobistar at 30.5% according to TeleGeography.

BASE has performed solidly since being rebranded in 2002. It has been able to close the gap on its rivals through a series of MVNO agreements with the likes of Medion Mobile and Carrefour Mobile.

The operator was originally known as joint venture KPN Orange until KPN bought out France Telecom’s 50% stake in the company in 2001.

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