KPN completes sale of wholesale arm to Tofane Global

News

US-based iBasis has been acquired by the Paris-based company led by Alexandre Pébereau, former CEO of Orange International Carriers.

The acquisition of iBasis will expand Tofane’s business substantially: in 2017, iBasis had revenues of €705 million, and 280 employees in 16 countries. 

Tofane acquired Altice Europe’s international voice carrier business in France, Portugal and the Dominican Republic in September last year.

In 2017, the three entities involved in that deal – SFR International Carrier Services, MEO International Carrier Services and Altice Dominicana International Carrier Services – collectively handled 14 billion minutes of international voice traffic.

Growth strategy

When the KPN was announced in March 2018, Pébereau was reported saying, “iBasis… is the ideal first acquisition to serve our strategy of consolidating the international carrier services market as an independent player. The partnership with KPN brings us strong and long-lasting dynamics to our consolidation project”.

The value of the transaction has not been made public.

KPN acquired iBasis in 2007. In a statement today the company said, “The transaction is in line with KPN's focus on the execution of its successful strategy in The Netherlands. iBasis will continue to deliver international voice termination and data services to KPN.”

KPN's future unclear

However, that might all be about to change. In January, there were reports that Canada’s biggest alternative asset manager, Brookfield Asset Management, was in preliminary discussions with Dutch pension funds PGGM and APG Groep about jointly acquiring KPN itself.

This was seen as a positive development for the entire telecoms sector: between 2012 and 2018, the value of European operators almost halved, according to Bloomberg.

Before news of the talks became public, pushing KPN’s share price to the highest level since 2013, the business was worth about €10.6 billion. GSMA Intelligence says it has 43% of the Dutch telecoms market.

Brookfield is clearly intent on the telecoms sector, having previously been interested in acquiring the tower assets of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India for around $1 billion.