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  • Wed, Sep. 14, 10:02 AM
    • Key telecom patent holders are joining forces, creating a one-stop shop for companies that need to license technology in building a connected future ranging from the "Internet of Things" to connected cars.
    • A newly formed company, Avanci, incorporates patents of partner firms including Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), ZTE (OTCPK:ZTCOY) and Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY). It will offer flat-rate licenses for patents in 2G, 3G and 4G technology that will vary based on the "value the technology brings to the device."
    • Such a setup will let those building connected cars, or smart meters and thermostats, quickly settle licensing around required patents without wading into complicated negotiations with several parties. For the telecoms, it means more and easier licensing opportunities beyond phones and tablets.
    • Kasim Alfalahi had left Ericsson to found the new group.
    | Wed, Sep. 14, 10:02 AM | 6 Comments
  • Fri, Jul. 29, 4:22 PM
    • Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY) has lost a lawsuit against Fox (FOX -0.2%, FOXA -0.5%) tied to their carriage deal for Fox programming.
    • The deal expires at the end of July, and the court decision means Fox isn't required to extend the deal under the same terms. KPN had claimed new terms from Fox, including a requirement to add a Fox premium sports channel to a basic TV package, might violate competition law.
    • Fox had requested a minimum payment based on total viewers at KPN, and offered to allow KPN to include the Fox Sports channels in its basic plan at a lower cost, rather than only in a premium tier. KPN balked at a "significant increase" in cost.
    • In the Netherlands, Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) has accepted the new Fox terms, while the country's market leader, Ziggo (LBTYA +1.7%), is unaffected since it won't see its current deal expire until 2020.
    • Earlier, Reuters reported that Europe was near approval on a combination of Dutch operations between Liberty Global and Vodafone.
    | Fri, Jul. 29, 4:22 PM
  • 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, Jul. 27, 9:17 AM
    | Wed, Jul. 27, 9:17 AM
  • 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
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 10:56 AM
    • Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY -1.8%) says its mobile data use doubled this year, and it naturally sees more ahead.
    • KPN brand customers used an average 1.3 GB/month in Q3, compared to 620 MB a year ago.
    • It will continue to invest in network advancements including LTE Advanced and carrier aggregation. And like Telstra and Vodafone in Australia, it's bracing for New Year holiday traffic that should be about 40% higher than normal.
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 10:56 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. 29, 2015, 11:53 AM
    • France's Altice (OTC:ATCEY) -- led by its acquisitive billionaire leader, Patrick Drahi -- is keeping up the M&A pressure by expressing an interest in buying Netherlands telecom KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY).
    • The two aren't in talks, says Altice's Dexter Goei, but he asserted that a merger would benefit the Dutch economy and infrastructure.
    • Altice began a capital restructuring where it's merging more tightly with its Dutch unit, Altice NV -- a move that could ease further acquisition.
    • Altice was spurned in a bid for Bouygues Telecom (OTC:BOUYF) last week that would have shrunk the French wireless market to three major competitors. And the company took control of U.S. firm Suddenlink before making a short, failed run at Time Warner Cable.
    | Jun. 29, 2015, 11:53 AM
  • Jun. 24, 2015, 11:43 AM
    • Dutch operator KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY) has reached a deal with HBO (NYSE:TWX) to offer its programming on KPN's Play streaming service, set to launch this fall.
    • HBO joins Discovery Channel networks as well as Viacom channels (MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon) and Disney Channel along with main Dutch broadcasters NPO, SBS and RTL on the service. It'll feature live and on-demand content and shows can be recorded (except for HBO and Disney).
    • Only an Internet connection is required and it'll be viewable on Android and iOS apps as well as Chromecast.
    • There's no word on pricing as KPN says it's focused on quality of service now, but it is unlikely to require a long-term contract.
    | Jun. 24, 2015, 11:43 AM
  • 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