Royal KPN NV (KPN), the Dutch phone company partially controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, is drawing interest from infrastructure investors and buyout firms for its German mobile-phone towers, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Funds managed by EQT Partners AB, the Swedish private- equity firm partly owned by the Wallenberg family, and Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) are among companies considering bids, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. KPN spokesman Stefan Simons and Macquarie spokeswoman Karen Smith declined to comment. An official at EQT couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
KPN hired UBS AG to prepare a sale of the towers operated by the German E-Plus unit in a deal that may fetch about 300 million euros ($364 million), the people said. UBS is preparing information materials as well as non-disclosure agreements and KPN may complete the sale in the third quarter, they said.
KPN is selling the towers as the Netherlands’ biggest phone operator works on alternatives for its German unit after talks on consolidation in the country fell through. Spain’s Telefonica SA (TEF) and KPN had explored a combination of their German units earlier this year as the former Dutch phone monopoly tried to fend off an unsolicited offer by Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB. (AMX:US)
America Movil won the 28 percent stake it sought in KPN on June 28, after separately increasing its holding in Telekom Austria AG the same month. KPN is scheduled to report second- quarter earnings today.
Wireless carriers, including Sprint Nextel Corp. in the U.S., have sold towers, which carry transmission equipment, to companies that specialize in their management. The phone companies then pay the tower operator for using the infrastructure.
Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), the largest German phone company, set out to sell T-Mobile USA’s towers after a failed takeover of the unit by AT&T Inc. last year. The towers have attracted interest from companies such as American Tower Corp. and Crown Castle International Corp., a person with knowledge of the deal said in June.
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