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  • Fri, Jul. 29, 12:55 PM
    • Europe is set to sign off on a high-profile merger of Dutch operations between Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.7%) and Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) following some concessions, Reuters reports.
    • That news is coming despite a tough regulatory regime that has scratched potential country mergers elsewhere, including a deal in Denmark between TeliaSonera and Telenor.
    • Liberty and Vodafone offered concessions July 12 to get the deal done, sources told Reuters.
    • The two would form the second-biggest telecom in the Netherlands and present a better competitive face to incumbent Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY).
    | Fri, Jul. 29, 12:55 PM | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Jan. 20, 11:36 AM
    • The EU is set to approve the €1.3B takeover of KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY -2.2%) Belgian telecom unit by Liberty Global (LBTYA -2.8%), after some divestments to clear the deal, Reuters reports.
    • The approval would mean the first telecom merger OK'd by Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, since the EC squashed TeliaSonera and Telenor's plan to merge their Danish units.
    • Liberty's Telenet unit has been pursuing KPN's Base over the past year. The combination would be slightly behind market leader Proximus and comparable in size to Mobistar (controlled by Orange).
    • To facilitate the deal, Telenet will sell all the customers from Base's JIM Mobile brand to rival Medialaan, along with its 50% stake in another brand (Mobile Viking) -- with the longer-term picture showing Medialaan as an MVNO on the Base network.
    • Previously: Liberty Global unit selling customers to pursue OK for Belgian takeover (Nov. 20 2015)
    • Previously: EU regulators extend probe into Liberty Global-KPN Belgian deal (Nov. 03 2015)
    | Wed, Jan. 20, 11:36 AM
  • Nov. 20, 2015, 10:33 AM
    | Nov. 20, 2015, 10:33 AM
  • Nov. 3, 2015, 11:02 AM
    | Nov. 3, 2015, 11:02 AM
  • Oct. 28, 2015, 10:23 AM
    | Oct. 28, 2015, 10:23 AM
  • Oct. 5, 2015, 1:53 PM
    • Europe's antitrust regulators are taking a closer look at a U.S.-initiated telecom deal, launching a full-scale probe into Liberty Global's (LBTYA +1.4%) bid for Belgium's Base (OTCPK:KKPNY +2.2%) over worries about price hikes.
    • Last month, Liberty was offering up concessions to the European Commission (now tougher than before) in order to seal a $1.5B deal for the Royal KPN operator. The EC had set a decision deadline for today.
    • Now the EC says its early review suggests the deal may reduce competition in Belgium and cut the incentives for Base to offer rivals network access.
    • A final decision on the deal is now due Feb. 18 (and may require more from Liberty to get it done).
    | Oct. 5, 2015, 1:53 PM
  • Sep. 15, 2015, 8:43 AM
    • Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is offering up concessions to a newly tougher EU antitrust regime in order to win approval for its $1.5B deal for Base, Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) Belgian wireless operator.
    • Last week, TeliaSonera and Telenor called off a merger of their Danish operations after a signal that it wouldn't get approved.
    • After reviewing Liberty's proposal, the European Commission will decide by Oct. 5 whether to clear it or investigate.
    • Previously: TeliaSonera, Telenor call off Danish merger as regulators balk (Sep. 11 2015)
    | Sep. 15, 2015, 8:43 AM
  • Jul. 8, 2015, 11:58 PM
    • Europe is leading the world in telecoms moving to "quad-play" bundling -- adding wireless to fixed-line telephones, broadband and pay TV -- which should mean a big opportunity for firms to drive margin improvement and build some competitive moats, says Morningstar's Allan Nichols.
    • Both in-country consolidations and convergence mergers are helping build moats, he says -- the latter because it tends to lower churn as people subscribe to more services. And with lower churn, companies can lower subscriber acquisition cost.
    • His favorites in the space: Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), already a leader in triple-play and convergence in Spain and Brazil; Orange (NYSE:ORAN), leading a fiber buildout in France; and Millicom International Cellular (OTCPK:MIICF), with a high organic growth rate but low EV/EBITDA.
    • About 16% of Virgin Media customers were taking four services when it was acquired by Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) in summer 2013, which Nichols thinks was a key factor. Liberty is now offering wireless services as an MVNO in several markets, and has agreed to buy Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) wireless business Base.
    • From the wireless direction, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is also acquiring assets to offer other services, particularly after it bought Cable & Wireless Worldwide in the UK, and later Kabel Deutschland in Germany.
    • Europe would benefit from more cross-border mergers, Nichols says, but they're unlikely due to political constraints, and German cable consolidation is likely to run into regulatory opposition as well.
    | Jul. 8, 2015, 11:58 PM
  • Jun. 3, 2015, 11:29 AM
    • Peeking ahead to more European telecom consolidation, Orange SA (ORAN -0.9%) says it might be looking at Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI), or other countries' targets such as the Netherlands' KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY) or Belgacom (OTCPK:BGAOY).
    • As a bigger provider, Orange is looking to more tie-ups to relieve the falling prices that heavier competition has brought to the European market.
    • The regulatory climate still has a way to go, says Orange's European chief Gervais Pellissier, but consolidation is inevitable on the continent, and in France as well: “The situation with four players is not sustainable in the long term."
    • France's No. 3 provider Bouygues (OTCPK:BOUYY) has been hit hard by the price war but has maintained it's not talking with merger partners. But: "The only one that is not for sale in the French market is us,” says Orange's Pellissier.
    • Orange is down less than expected as it's trading ex-dividend today for its upcoming special $0.4542 cash dividend (2.83% of current price; Orange ADRs are at $16.03 after yesterday's close of $16.18).
    | Jun. 3, 2015, 11:29 AM
  • Apr. 20, 2015, 3:32 AM
    • Liberty Global's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) Belgian unit has agreed to buy Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) local mobile-phone business Base for €1.33B ($1.43B) as billionaire John Malone enlarges his European cable and telecommunications empire.
    • Telenet (OTCPK:TLGHY) has about 900K mobile subscribers; Base has 3.3M.
    • With Malone expanding through purchases across Europe, Liberty Global now owns cable and phone operations stretching from Hungary to the U.K.
    | Apr. 20, 2015, 3:32 AM
  • Mar. 4, 2015, 12:57 PM
    • While rival Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY +1%) is hoping to draw €1B in selling Base, its Belgian mobile division, France's Orange (NYSE:ORAN) -- which has a majority stake in Belgium's No. 2 provider Mobistar -- says it wants to stay in the country.
    • Orange's Gervais Pellissier says his company hasn't been contacted about the Base sale but: "Consolidation is necessary in the market and it would make sense for someone already in the country to buy it."
    • He expected if Mobistar got involved, in an effort to better take on market leader Belgacom, it would be tough to get the deal approved by regulators.
    • Strategic bidders or private-equity funds still seem the likely candidates to buy Base in a market hit by a price war and ripe for consolidation.
    | Mar. 4, 2015, 12:57 PM
  • Feb. 19, 2014, 4:09 AM
    • The European Commission is unhappy with Telefonica's (TEF) €8.6B ($11.83B) purchase of KPN's (KKPNF) German unit in its current form, Reuters reports.
    • The EC's objections could mean that Telefonica will have to make concessions to gain the regulator's approval.
    • The EC started an inquiry into the deal in December, saying it was concerned that the acquisition would lead to a fall in competition in Germany and to higher prices.
    | Feb. 19, 2014, 4:09 AM
  • Dec. 12, 2013, 12:47 PM
    • Reuters reports the E.C. will "open an in-depth probe" into Telefonica's (TEF -0.9%) $11.9B cash/stock purchase of KPN's (KKPNF) German unit on Friday, and will reject a German proposal to handle regulatory scrutiny of the deal.
    • Many expected the E.C. to closely scrutinize the acquisition, which stands to lower the number of German mobile carriers from four to three (Telefonica/KPN, Deutsche Telekom, and Vodafone). Citi has estimated the deal could produce €4B ($5.5B) in annual synergies.
    | Dec. 12, 2013, 12:47 PM
  • Oct. 17, 2013, 4:55 AM
    • Although America Movil (AMOV, AMX) has withdrawn its €7.2B ($9.7B) bid for KPN (KKPNY.PK) because of a disagreement over price, the deal may not be dead, the CEO of the Dutch telecom group has indicated.
    • "I'm not going to say which price we wanted because there is a possibility that we will be sitting around the table again," Eelco Blok said.
    • Despite the prospect of renewed talks, KPN shares are -8.6% in Amsterdam.
    | Oct. 17, 2013, 4:55 AM
  • Sep. 1, 2013, 2:35 AM
    • America Movil (AMX, AMOV) has said there is "no way" it will increase its €7.2B bid for KPN (KKPNF.PK) after an independent foundation connected to the Dutch telecom operator moved to block the offer. America Movil has said it is prepared to walk away from the deal.
    • Spokesman Arturo Elias said America Movil would "have to carefully analyze" whether to sell its 29.8% stake in KPN if the proposal were to be unsuccessful.
    • Elias also denied the foundation's contention that the America Movil's bid is hostile, saying "we've had lots of conversations with (KPN's) management."
    | Sep. 1, 2013, 2:35 AM
  • Aug. 30, 2013, 3:45 AM
    • America Movil (AMX, AMOV) is prepared to withdraw its €7.2B takeover offer for KPN (KKPNF.PK) after an independent foundation created to protect the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders moved to block the deal.
    • The foundation exercised an option to acquire almost 50% of KPN's voting stock, saying that those stakeholder interests were at risk because America Movil didn't consult with the Dutch telecom carrier before announcing its bid. However, the foundation is open to America Movil addressing its concerns.
    • KPN shares are -5.2% in Amsterdam.
    | Aug. 30, 2013, 3:45 AM | 1 Comment