EC allows KPN to take total control over E-Plus

The European Commission gave Dutch telecommunication company Koninklijke KPN NV regulatory clearance to take sole control over Germany’s third largest mobile phone operator E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & KG Thursday.

In a statement released late Thursday, the European Commission said the deal, which involves an exchange of shares with minority E-Plus stakeholder Bell South Corp., raises no competition concerns. “The proposed transaction would not lead to any overlaps between the activities of KPN and E-Plus,” it said.

KPN already owns 77.49 per cent of E-Plus. BellSouth will exchange its 22.51 per cent stake in E-Plus into a 9.42 per cent stake in KPN.

KPN also has mobile phone operations in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Commission’s investigation of the proposed deal focused on the potential impact it might have on KPN’s leading position in the Dutch market for providing wholesale international roaming services.

“The investigation showed that even if KPN were able to direct all traffic generated by E-Plus subscribers roaming in the Netherlands onto its network would not have any significant effect on KPN Mobile’s position in the market for wholesale international roaming,” the Commission said.

As part of the transaction, BellSouth has also surrendered its existing warrant on KPN shares, its rights with regard to KPN Mobile and its contingent rights pertaining to KPNQwest, KPN said in a statement.

“This agreement marks another important milestone in the execution of KPN’s new strategy focused on core assets in core countries. The reduction of the complexity of our partnerships will create more flexibility and transparency which is in the best interest of the parties involved,” said Ad Scheepbouwer, KPN’s chief executive officer.

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Its responsibilities include regulating competition.

It can be reached on +-32-2-299-11-11 or found on the Web at