Alexandre Pébereau completes acquisition of iBasis from KPN

08 February 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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KPN has completed sale of its iBasis wholesale division to Tofane Global, Alexandre Pébereau’s company that bought Altice’s wholesale interests last year.

Pébereau will rebrand the whole operation as iBasis, through the Tofane name will stay on for the holding company.

“We are bringing together complementary global footprints, deep commitment to innovation, and Tier 1 capabilities, and are now positioned to empower our customers’ performance and transformation strategies worldwide,” said Pébereau today, as KPN announced the completion to shareholders.

Neither Pébereau nor KPN has given a price for the iBasis acquisition – and no price was put on last year’s deal with Altice.

The deal leaves KPN stripped down to its Netherlands broadband, fixed and mobile roots, having sold all its international activities. The last to go before iBasis was the German mobile operation E-Plus, which Telefónica bought in 2015.

There were rumours in late January that Canadian investor Brookfield Asset Management is talking to two Netherlands pension funds about partnering on a potential bid for KPN. A Bloomberg report on 31 January valued KPN at €10.6 billion. Last week KPN reported annual revenues for 2018 of €5.63 billion, down 1.8% on 2017. 

Away from KPN, the expanded iBasis will include the international voice carrier business formerly belonging to Altice Europe in France, Portugal and the Dominican Republic, as well as the former KPN subsidiary. It will expand its operations in the internet of things (IoT) and other services.

Pébereau claimed that the combined company is now the third largest wholesale voice operator, with revenues of more than $1 billion a year. Its 300 employees will work with more than 1,000 customers worldwide, he said. According to Capacity's information, iBasis's revenues were more than $600 million a year and the Altice wholesale business had revenues of more than $400 million a year. 

Pébereau told Capacity in an interview for the February-March issue: “We will keep the name iBasis but will refresh the brand. The market said iBasis has a long track record and the name is very strong in the carrier community. Everything will be under the name iBasis, for voice, for mobile and for IoT.”

iBasis will retain its long-standing partnership with KPN for voice, roaming, mobile data, transmission, and IoT. Altice Europe and iBasis customers “immediately benefit from the strength of combined markets coverage, voice volumes, and expanded portfolio of mobile data and IoT solutions”, said the company.

“Eleven months ago, in a single week we committed to the acquisition of two competitive leaders. We are proud we’ve closed both transactions and created the top-three independent carrier.”

In a statement issued to mark the closing of the deal, Tofane said: “Consolidating traffic across entities will increase iBasis’s volume by an estimated 80%, direct network operators connections to over 300, and fixed and mobile destinations to 2,000+.”

Tofane will have a “carrier consolidation strategy” that reinforces iBasis’s “commercial independence and financial agility to deliver greater economies of scale and business intelligence”.

The expanded operation will offer managed solutions including “outsourced inbound and outbound voice, roaming services, mobile-to-mobile, global infrastructure sharing for inter-company and third-party traffic, fraud management, and software solutions for real-time routing, billing, and reporting”.  

iBasis said it would strengthen and broaden its mobile data portfolio, expanding services across 4G and initiating 5G deployments. It will provide “locally programmable GSMA-standardised eSIM solutions” that will support cellular IoT.

Feddo Hazewindus, who has been CEO of iBasis for three years and will remain in charge, said: “Our top priority is to enable our customers to be first in their respective markets, first across the globe, and first to achieve transformation. Powered by Tofane, we are set to deliver on our promise and on the next phase of our future.”

Tofane Global is backed by financial partners, including Ciclad and Trocadero Capital Partners, with Société Générale as its primary bank.

Tofane Global won our award for the best strategic acquisition in the 2018 Global Carrier Awards. Results in full are downloadable from here