Dutch operator KPN sold 150 million shares in Telefonica Deutschland, equivalent to a 5 per cent stake, for €805 million, of which 70 per cent will be given to shareholders and the rest used “to further strengthen its financial flexibility” and reduce debt.

The transaction, expected to close on 12 November, will reduce KPN’s stake in Telefonica Deutschland from 20.5 per cent to 15.5 per cent.

KPN has “agreed to a lock-up in respect of its remaining stake for 90 days as of the settlement date of the transaction,” it said in a statement.

Eelco Blok, CEO of KPN, said the deal “creates shareholder value and at the same time we maintain attractive exposure to Telefónica Deutschland via our remaining stake.”

“We consider the stake in Telefónica Deutschland as a financial investment. Our investment-led strategy is firmly on track and is yielding positive operational and financial results,” he added.

In November last year, Blok told an investor conference the operator would consider selling its entire stake in Telefonica Deutschland, and that a decision to do so would “depend on the price”.

Telefonica closed the acquisition in October 2014 of KPN-owned E-Plus in Germany, for which KPN received €5 billion in cash, plus its stake in Telefonica Deutschland.