TDC CEO latest to call for European M&A

Europe's leading telecoms executives have been falling over themselves to call for more industry consolidation to counter falling prices in the market, and the CEO of Danish operator TDC, Carsten Dilling, is the latest to wade into the debate.

According to Bloomberg, Dilling follows Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas of and Per-Arne Blomquist, the former CFO of TeliaSonera, in saying that the Nordic markets would benefit from mergers.

"The Nordic market is mature and ready for consolidation, and we are open minded on the TDC side to assess relevant opportunities," Dilling told Bloomberg. "I definitely think we'll see consolidation."

Denmark is seen as particularly ripe for consolidation as prices fall and operators find it increasingly difficult to invest in new networks.

Dilling added that TDC, which controls around 40 per cent of the Danish market and competes with Telenor (23 per cent), TeliaSonera (17 per cent) and Hutchison Whampoas's 3 Denmark (11 per cent), has resisted participating in the price war and instead has increased prices and bundled in more value-added services.

Last week, Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann also said the time is now right for European operators thinking of mergers and acquisitions to make their move.

How the European Commission deals with current M&A plans such as KPN's €8.55 billion ($11.62 billion) sale of its German E-Plus business to Telefónica, and Hutchison Whampoa's acquisition of Telefónica Ireland, is being watched with interest.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard said in September that he believes the E-Plus deal, if approved, would trigger a massive shift in Europe's telecoms industry.

Analysys Mason recently noted that eight mobile in-market consolidation deals have taken place in Western Europe during 2005–2013, including Telefónica/KPN in Germany and Hutchison/Telefónica in Ireland.

The research firm added that mergers have mainly taken place between third and fourth players, but noted that an easier regulatory environment in Western Europe in the future might lead to more consolidation activity by incumbents, as a means of achieving sustainable margins, cash flow and investor return in large markets.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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