Liberty Belgian subsidiary Telenet acquires BASE from KPN for €1.3 bn

US telco multinational Liberty Global has announced its Telenet Belgian subsidiary is acquiring Belgian mobile network operator BASE Company from Dutch telco KPN for €1.325 billion. Liberty has positioned the acquisition as a “unique opportunity to drive mobile services on attractive financial terms”.

BASE is the third largest of three physical MNOs in Belgium according to Ovum’s WCIS service. The acquisition is apparently designed to make Telenet a more viable multiplay operator, and will quadruple the number of mobile subscribers it currently has from its MVNO as well as giving BASE its own physical network. The combined operations will still lie in third place in terms of subscribers, but much closer to second placed Mobistar and first placed Belgacom Mobile.

“We fully support Telenet’s acquisition of Base, which represents a cost-effective and unique opportunity to expand Telenet’s mobile and fixed business in Belgium,” said Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global. “Given Telenet’s scale in Belgium it can absorb the smaller BASE business quickly and efficiently. Elsewhere in Europe we will continue to focus primarily on our existing MVNO arrangements and rapidly developing wifi networks to provide seamless mobile voice and data services to our customers.”

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Telenet on the sale of BASE Company,” said Eelco Blok, CEO of KPN. “Over the years, BASE Company has been very successful as a challenger in the Belgian mobile market. We are strong believers in convergence and are delivering very good results with our fixed-mobile product offerings in The Netherlands, with customer base growth and increasing customer satisfaction.”

Both CEOs are talking up convergence, while at the same time hedging their comments to avoid creating the impression of a spending spree. But this is just another milestone in an accelerating global trend towards telco consolidation that shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

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