Dutch operator KPN has received a number of bids for its Belgian division, Base, which could net the company between EUR1.4 billion and EUR1.7 billion, according to Reuters sources.
The non-binding bids were received from Belgian media group De Persgroep, cable company Telenet and private-equity firms Blackstone, Providence and Cinven.
KPN said in July it would sell Base – which is Belgium’s smallest operator behind Belgacom and Mobistar – after being forced to cut its 2012 dividend by more than half in order to tackle its debts.
KPN chief executive Eelco Blok recently said that it is hoped that a buyer will be found by September although the sale may not happen if a satisfactory bid isn’t received.
Reuters notes that Base has limited growth potential and therefore little chance of becoming more profitable, something that could make it hard for private-equity firms to justify KPN’s price expectations.
KPN is currently the subject of interest from Latin American operator group America Movil which has increased its stake in the company to 28 percent. The Dutch operator recently said it will pursue a constructive dialogue with America Movil about “potential areas of cooperation that are viable, value accretive, in line with our strategy and in the interests of all shareholders and other stakeholders”.
However, America Movil has stated that it would prefer KPN to retain Base.