Belgian cable operator Telenet is reportedly eyeing mobile operator Base, following an announcement by current owner KPN that it is conducting a “comprehensive review of the strategic options” for this unit.
According to Reuters, Telenet is in talks with private equity firms Blackstone, Cinven, Providence, Bain and KKR about a joint bid for the business. It was suggested that Telenet would be an appealing partner due to the potential synergies between the businesses, such as the ability to offer bundled fixed, mobile and media services.
While Telenet is interested in Base, a partnership with a private equity firm would enable it to limit its financial contribution to the deal. It is owned by international cable company Liberty Global, which also has businesses in the Netherlands and Germany.
Telenet already has an MVNO operation in the Belgian market, using the network of France Telecom’s Mobistar. According to Wireless Intelligence figures, it has around 250,000 customers, all of which are contract subscribers.
Base is the second largest operator in Belgium, with 4.25 million subscribers – slightly ahead of Mobistar, which has 4.12 million. The largest operator in Belgium is Belgacom’s Proximus, which has 5.21 million customers.
When KPN said it was assessing its options for Base, a valuation of around EUR1.8 billion was mooted.
In the meantime, KPN itself has been the subject of interest, from Latin America-based player America Movil. It said that the offer it received “substantially undervalues the company.”