Royal KPN (Netherlands)

Selected KPN advertising

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 43% share under the main KPN brand and subsidiary banners including Telfort and Simyo, and also in broadband with 41% share. 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. Revenues from continuing operations in 2015 were €7.0bn. Eelco Blok is CEO of KPN. 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.

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Who are the competitors of KPN? See also Telecoms Index for competitive companies 

Capsule checked 10th August 2016

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Aug 2013: Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim announced plans to take full control of Dutch telecoms group KPN through his America Movil holding company, potentially threatening the proposed merger of that company's German subsidiary E-Plus with rival O2. As KPN's largest single shareholder, Slim has already voiced his dissatisfaction with the price being offered by O2 for E-Plus. However, his complaints were dismissed rather curtly by KPN's board, and this lack of courtesy may in part have prompted this latest move. Some commentators suggested that he was also partly motivated by a wish to provoke O2's parent company Telefonica, which happens to be America Movil's biggest competitor in Latin America. The takeover bid offers €7.2bn for the 70% of KPN America Movil doesn't already own. KPN's controlling foundation has demanded that Slim provide more details of what his intentions are for the group if he were to succeed in his bid, and specifically if he plans to block the O2 deal. If so, KPN is likely to deploy the poison pill defence favoured in the past by Dutch companies, in which new stock would be issued to dilute America Movil's current holding.

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