KPN is the dominant telecoms operator for The Netherlands, offering a range of fixed, mobile and data services. It is the clear leader in local mobile with 55% combined share under the main KPN brand and subsidiary banners including Telfort and Simyo, and also in broadband with 41% share, as KPN or as XS4All. However, it has largely abandoned all its international operations. The group made repeated attempts over the years to expand into other markets, but with limited success, though it did establish mobile subsidiaries in Germany and Belgium under the E-Plus and BASE brands. However, overall performance was mercurial, with the result that KPN was widely considered a potential takeover target. In 2012, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim acquired a 28% stake in the business via his Latin American group America Movil, and attempted to take full control the following year in order to prevent KPN from selling its German subsidiary to local rival O2. The Mexican takeover was blocked, and KPN became a minority shareholder in what is now Germany's biggest mobile company, but it remains a small fish in the rapidly consolidating European pond. In 2015 the group also agreed to sell its Belgian business BASE to Liberty Global. KPN reported revenues of €6.5bn in 2017. Long-serving CEO Eelco Blok retired in 2018, to be succeeded by former Wind Tre chief Maximo Ibarra. KPN was created in 1989 from the semi-privatisation of what had previously been the state-controlled Dutch Post Office. Postal services were demerged a decade later to form TNT Post Group, now PostNL. Over-ambitious investment in 3G bandwidth and international operations during the 1990s almost forced KPN into bankruptcy in 2001; it survived by selling off most of those interests. Adbrands does not currently profile this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. See here for information on how to subscribe.
Capsule checked 23rd November 2018
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Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018. The first batch of winners were announced from Cannes Lions 2018. (See the full run-down, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at the Cannes Lions 2018 website). The Grand Prix in Entertainment was awarded to Dutch telecoms company KPN and agency N=5 for a brilliantly imaginative social media campaign recounting the daily experiences of fictional Dutch teenager "Evert_45" during the closing days of the Second World War. The idea was to build connections between today's teenagers and the remaining survivors of the war in order to keep their stories alive even after they themselves have died.
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Apr 2015: Dutch telecoms group KPN agreed to sell its remaining international business, Belgian operator BASE, to John Malone's Liberty Global for €1.3bn. The business will be absorbed into Liberty's Belgian cable division Telenet.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Oct 2013: America Movil withdrew its offer to acquire Dutch telecoms group KPN after the two sides failed to agree on price. KPN's controlling foundation activated a so-called "poison pill" defence earlier this year to combat what it considered was a hostile approach from America Movil's owner Carlos Slim, issuing new shares in order to take majority control of the business. That move effectively blocked Slim's attempts to acquire the shares in KPN he didn't already own. However the Mexican has refused to raise his bid above the €2.40 per share already on the table.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Sep 2013: Dutch telecoms company KPN blocked attempts by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to take control of the company, by executing a so-called "poison pill" strategy. In a crafty bit of corporate manouevring, the independent foundation which oversees KPN waited until Slim's support had been secured for the proposed merger of KPN's German subsidiary with O2. It then used its special powers to issue new preferential shares equivalent to just under 50% of KPN's voting equity. That effectively cut Slim's existing shareholding in half and forces him to win the full backing of both the KPN board and its foundation for any revised offer, which would almost certainly have to be at least twice what he is currently offering for the business.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Aug 2013: The merger of mobile operators O2 Germany and E-Plus looks likely to go ahead following an agreement by O2's parent Telefonica to raise its offer to €8.55bn in cash and shares. That improvement secured the approval of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the largest shareholder in E-Plus's Dutch parent KPN. Slim had claimed that the previous offer of €8.1bn was insufficient, and was threatening to vote against the deal. The new proposal would lift KPN's prospective holding in a merged O2/E-Plus from 18% to 20.5%. The main remaining hurdle is Europe's telecoms regulator, whose approval will be required for the resulting reduction in the German mobile market from four to three operators.
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