KPN declines to comment on report of takeover interest

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - KPN NV on Thursday declined to comment on a media report that said private investors including EQT of Sweden were preparing an attempt to buy the top Dutch telecoms provider.

A KPN spokeswoman said the company would not comment on “rumours”. EQT declined to comment.

A report in the Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter that EQT might seek to pay 3 euros ($3.56) per share for KPN this spring, working together with New York-based Stonepeak Infrastructure partners.

EQT was named in stories by Reuters and Bloomberg in 2020 as weighing a bid for KPN, whose shares were up 1.6% to 2.92 euros by 0721 GMT on Thursday.

KPN has indicated it does not wish to be bought and has a poison pill mechanism in place to thwart unwanted takeovers, whereby an independent panel can issue new shares, as it did to block a takeover attempt in 2013.

Its networks were identified as infrastructure critical to national safety under a law that went into force in October 2020 giving the government the right to veto a takeover.

America Movil owns a 20% stake in KPN.

The company entered a joint venture with pension fund giant ABP to build fibre optic networks last month and owns some fibre optic networks in southern Netherlands and Belgium.

($1 = 0.8424 euros)

Reporting by Toby Sterling and Supantha Mukherjee; editing by Jason Neely