KPN declines comment on EQT takeover interest after shares jump

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - KPN NV, the largest Dutch telecommunications company, declined to comment on a Bloomberg report on Thursday that said it has been approached by private equity firm EQT about a possible $13 billion takeover. The Bloomberg report follows one last month which said that EQT was in early discussions with possible advisers on the feasibility of a deal, without any final decision having been made. KPN spokeswoman Victorina de Boer said the Bloomberg story was based on anonymous sources and the firm would not comment on rumours.

Reuters November 13, 2020 00:06:40 IST
KPN declines comment on EQT takeover interest after shares jump

KPN declines comment on EQT takeover interest after shares jump

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - KPN NV, the largest Dutch telecommunications company, declined to comment on a Bloomberg report on Thursday that said it has been approached by private equity firm EQT about a possible $13 billion takeover.

The Bloomberg report follows one last month which said that EQT was in early discussions with possible advisers on the feasibility of a deal, without any final decision having been made.

KPN spokeswoman Victorina de Boer said the Bloomberg story was based on anonymous sources and the firm would not comment on rumours.

EQT declined comment.

KPN shares were up 7% at 2.65 euros after the story was published.

On October 28, CEO Joost Farwerck told reporters when the company reported third-quarter results that KPN was not planning on being bought but was open to interest.

"If somebody comes along with an interesting proposal, we can always listen, but we're not focused on it," he said.

KPN competes with VodafoneZiggo and T-Mobile in the highly concentrated Dutch market and has suffered a decade-long decline in sales. Farwerck has said he does not expect a quick revival.

While analysts say a takeover of KPN could make sense for EQT, which already owns the Netherlands' second-largest fibre optic network, it is not clear whether the government would allow it.

In May, the Dutch government passed a law that gives it power to block takeovers of companies in the telecommunications sector that it deems to be not in the interest of national security.

The Netherlands' Economic Affairs ministry, which oversees KPN, could not immediately be reached on Thursday for comment.

An attempt to buy KPN for 8 euros per share in 2013, by America Movil, floundered on KPN's poison pill defences, which are still in place.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Jane Merriman and Elaine Hardcastle)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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