Multinational investment company EQT began assessing a bid to acquire KPN, Bloomberg reported, though any deal would have to get through the operator’s independent foundation and a Dutch law protecting critical infrastructure.
Details on the value and composition of a potential deal were not disclosed by the news outlet’s sources, with the Sweden-headquartered investor’s deliberations still at an early stage.
A takeover of the operator, which has attracted several suitors over the years, could face significant problems with strong measures in place to vet any potential buyer.
As of earlier this year, The Netherlands has a law giving the government the power to block any takeover attempt of local communications companies on national security grounds.
Additionally, KPN has an independent foundation named Stichting Preferente Aandelen B KPN, which has the power to temporarily change the company’s voting shareholding structure to protect against a hostile takeover.
It blocked an acquisition attempt by KPN’s largest shareholder America Movil in 2013.
In 2019, reports emerged claiming investment company Brookfield Asset Management was contemplating a buyout of the Dutch incumbent, though no formal offer was made.
The latest rumour comes at a time when KPN is midway through a plan to refocus the business and slash overheads. It sold its international network business for €50 million in 2019, and also appointed a new CEO when previous chief Maximo Ibarra quit after less than two years in charge.