Deutsche Telekom appears to be moving closer to a sale of its mobile network unit in the Netherlands after narrowing the list of potential bidders to just two private equity firms, although the German operator may decide to keep the business if it is not able to secure the right price.
Citing unnamed sources, Reuters said U.S. private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Apollo are expected to submit their final offers for T-Mobile Netherlands on Monday, with bids expected to value the company at more than €3 billion ($3.4 billion).
Warburg Pincus is also reportedly working on the deal with former Deutsche Telekom CEO René Obermann, who headed up Dutch cable operator Ziggo before its acquisition by Liberty Global.
Reuters noted that Deutsche Telekom has been hoping to raise at least €3.6 billion from the sale.
The sources added that the shortlist does not include Liberty Global, which is now in talks with Vodafone about the possible formation of a joint venture in the Netherlands and will not bid for T-Mobile Netherlands as a result.
The Dutch mobile market is highly competitive and has also seen the entry of multi-service plans that combine fixed and mobile services. While KPN and Vodafone Netherlands both sell triple-play and quadruple-play plans, T-Mobile Netherlands is looking increasingly isolated as a mobile-only player.
A joint venture between Vodafone and Liberty Global would also bring together Vodafone Netherlands and cable operator Ziggo, thus creating a larger group with a strong convergence play. Tele2 Netherlands has also recently launched its 4G network and is selling 4G plans alongside existing triple-play bundles.
In December, the Dutch Consumer Multiplay Market 2015 Q3 report from Telecompaper revealed that Dutch telecoms operators increased revenue from multi-play subscriptions by 7.4 per cent year on year to €933 million in the third quarter of 2015 as interest in plans that combine three or more telecoms services continues to grow.
The report noted that the number of households with quad-play subscriptions reached more than 600,000 at the end of the quarter.
- see this Reuters article
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