Stonepeak Joins EQT in Bidding for Dutch Carrier KPN, WSJ says

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Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners is teaming up with fellow private equity firm EQT AB on a possible takeover bid for Royal KPN NV, valuing the Dutch phone company at more than $15 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg reported in November that EQT was pursuing a buyout of KPN, which has the largest fiber-optic network in the Netherlands. EQT is now working with New York-based Stonepeak on the offer, the Journal reported, citing unidentified people close to the situation.

In its discussions with Rotterdam-based KPN, EQT has sought to strike a friendly deal, Bloomberg has reported. The firm is working with advisers and discussing financing for the potential purchase, people with knowledge of the situation said in November.

A bid could top 3 euros ($3.56) a share, according to the Journal. It’s possible the firms could find an additional partner -- or face rival bidders -- the paper said, and the Dutch government will have to sign off on a deal.

Telecom carriers have become more attractive to investment firms, which see such companies’ infrastructure as a source of long-term revenue. Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets teamed up with pension funds to buy Nordic operator TDC A/S for 40.8 billion Danish kroner ($6.5 billion) in 2018.

Following that deal, Macquarie sold TDC’s Norwegian unit and split the rest of the company into two businesses: infrastructure owner TDC NET, which is rolling out high-speed fiber networks in Denmark, and the consumer-oriented Nuuday, which has a range of phone, TV and entertainment brands.

KPN, meanwhile, has been been struggling with declining sales for more than a decade. That’s prompted it to cut costs and seek new sources of revenue. It also faces competition from regional giants like Vodafone Group Plc.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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