KPN to sell Belgian unit BASE, which may fetch €1.8B

KPN put its mobile operation in Belgium up for sale after a strategic review of the business. The sale of BASE, scheduled for next month, could raise around €1.8 billion, according to initial estimates cited by The Deal, which KPN said would be used to improve the parent company's credit profile and financial flexibility.

The announcement of the sale came a day after KPN confirmed that negotiations with Telefónica over a merger between KPN's E-Plus and Telefónica's O2 Germany had collapsed, according to Dow Jones Newswires. The deal was seen as critical to KPN in its fight to generate shareholder value and ward off the bid by América Móvil for a 27 per cent holding in KPN.

While the Mexican operator has recently boosted its stake in KPN to 21 per cent, América Móvil CFO Carlos Garcia-Moreno sidestepped any questions regarding KPN's strategy in Germany, and any changes it might want to see implemented in KPN's operations in Europe.

"We're just arriving," he told the Wall Street Journal. "It would be very pretentious for us to say we know everything and can tell them what to do."

KPN had hired Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase to help it defend against the Mexican company's offer of €8 per share bid, which KPN has consistently claimed undervalues the company. However, the bankers appear to have had no success yet in finding a white-knight bidder or securing asset sales that would help it ward off América Móvil.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)
- see this The Deal article

Related Articles:
KPN rejects América Móvil offer as undervalued, hires strategic advisors
Rumour Mill: KPN's Belgian arm moves closer to auction, is E-Plus next?
Report: Iliad eyes purchase of KPN's Belgian unit
KPN exploring 'strategic options' for Belgian unit