Deutsche Telekom Said to Start $5.3 Billion Dutch Unit Sale

Deutsche Telekom AG has kicked off the sale of its T-Mobile Netherlands BV subsidiary, which could be valued at around 4.5 billion euros ($5.3 billion), according to people familiar with the matter.

The telecommunications operator is working with Morgan Stanley and has sent out information on the business to potential bidders, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. It has asked for first-round offers to be submitted this month, one of the people said.

The sale is attracting preliminary interest from potential bidders including Apax Partners, Apollo Global Management Inc., BC Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Warburg Pincus, the people said. Deliberations are in the early stages, and there’s no certainty any of the suitors will decide to proceed with offers, the people said.

Representatives for Apax, Apollo, Deutsche Telekom, Morgan Stanley and Providence declined to comment, while spokespeople for BC and Warburg Pincus didn’t immediately provide comment.

Deutsche Telekom entered the Dutch mobile-phone market in 2000, acquiring a stake in a venture with Belgacom SA and Tele Danmark. The business was renamed T-Mobile Netherlands in 2003 after the German carrier bought the remainder.

It considered a sale of the unit at a similar valuation in 2015 to raise funds to buy wireless frequencies in the U.S., before deciding to keep the business. In 2019, T-Mobile Netherlands merged with Tele2 AB’s operations in the country to create one of the biggest local carriers.

Speaking at an investor day in May, Tele2’s Chief Executive Officer Kjell Johnsen confirmed the company planned to sell its 25% holding in T-Mobile Netherlands and focus on its core markets in the Nordics and Baltics.

Private equity firms are often drawn to these assets as they can gain control of underlying infrastructure, which offers steady long-term returns. In May, the Dutch telecom group Royal KPN NV said it had rejected an “unsolicited high-level approach” from investment firms EQT AB and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

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