KPN buys German KPNQwest network

Koninklijke KPN NV has reached an agreement to buy the German network of bankrupt KPNQwest NV, the Dutch carrier announced Thursday.

KPN will take over a 3,500 kilometer fiber-optic network and 55 of the 118 German KPNQwest staff, KPN, of The Hague, Netherlands, said in a statement. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

KPN is still in talks with KPNQwest liquidators in Belgium and the U.K. about the sale of KPNQwest networks in those countries, the company said. Negotiations are difficult because of the complex structure of KPNQwest, which had a number of subsidiaries in each country it operated in.

KPN said late July, when it bought the Dutch part of the KPNQwest network, that it was interested in the German, Belgian and U.K. parts as well. The German network is important to KPN as it is used by its mobile telephony subsidiary E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. KG, Germany’s third largest mobile phone company.

KPNQwest, founded in November 1998 by KPN and Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver, was declared bankrupt late May after a plan to sell certain assets to meet urgent financial obligations failed. The company, once a stock market darling valued at over 42 billion euros, (CDN$63 billion) went into a financial tailspin when demand failed to meet its expectations and its founders and banks withdrew support.