Brookfield Asset Management opened talks with Dutch pension funds PGGM and APG about making an offer to acquire the country’s top operator KPN, Bloomberg reported.
Talks are at an early stage: Brookfield Asset Management hasn’t approached KPN yet and may decide it doesn’t want to go ahead with a bid, Bloomberg said.
The news agency quoted analyst Emmanual Carlier as saying: “If such a transaction would go through, it would lift the whole telco sector, potentially massively, because it could imply that you will see more M&A.”
This is not the first time Brookfield Asset Management has shown interest in the mobile industry: it was previously reported to be interested in Idea Cellular’s and Vodafone India’s tower assets for an estimated $1 billion.
A separate Bloomberg report stated having local allies on board will help Brookfield’s case, but may not be enough to garner support for an acquisition at KPN as large Netherlands companies often have international ownership.
Brookfield Asset Management will also have to show how it can support growth and create jobs, plus it will need to convince billionaire Carlos Slim, who owns 16 per cent of KPN (and made an attempt to acquire the operator in 2013) to sell or find a way in which he can remain a stakeholder.
KPN is currently the top operator in the Netherlands, with GSMA Intelligence pegging its market share at 43 per cent. It is valued at about €10.6 billion.
At the end of 2018 it unveiled plans to simplify the business, accelerate digital transformation and drastically cut its operating expenses through measures including a reduction in staff costs.