By Catherine Sbeglia Nin
Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Tele2 Group have finalized the sale of T-Mobile Netherlands, officially closing the book on DT’s presence in the Dutch market. The unit has been purchased by a consortium of private equity funds advised by Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus for €5.1 billion(US$5.6billlion), and Olaf Swantee, former chief executive of EE Limited, has been appointed chairman of the operator’s supervisory board.
Swantee stated that in his new role, he, along with his management team, will ensure T-Mobile “strengthens its position as a leading telco in the Netherlands in the eyes of its employees, its customers and its shareholders.”
“We are very happy with the development of our strategic ownership in T-Mobile Netherlands during the last few years. I am proud of the achievements of our colleagues in the Netherlands and I am sure they can come even further together with Apax and Warburg Pincus,” commented president and CEO of Tele2, Kjell Johnsen. “This successful sale will conclude Tele2’s international consolidation and we will now continue our strategy to focus on our core operations in Sweden and the Baltics, says President and CEO of Tele2, Kjell Johnsen.”
According to statement issued by Deutsche Telekom, the operator will generate a net cash inflow of approximately EUR 4.0 billion from the transaction, while Tele2 Group stated it will distribute its portion of the cash raised to shareholders with an extraordinary dividend later this year.
It has been rumored since 2015 that DT has been considering selling the Netherlands unit. However, in 2017, the operator instead announced plans to merge the business with Tele2’s local unit, a development that caught the attention of the European Commission, which launched a probe to ensure that the transaction would not reduce competition in the Dutch telecom market.
When the 2017 transaction finalized, the merged company became the third largest operator in the Dutch market, outweighed by competitors KPN and VodafoneZiggo. However, according to GSMA estimates for Q4 2021, the operator appeared to be the second-largest in the market with 5.8 million, less than 500,000 ahead of VodafoneZiggo and well behind market leader KPN with its 10 million-strong base.