London/Hong Kong/Mumbai: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is weighing a bid for Deutsche Telekom AG’s Netherlands subsidiary, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Indian conglomerate is working with an adviser to evaluate an offer for T-Mobile Netherlands BV, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Deutsche Telekom is seeking about 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in any sale, the people said.
Deliberations are ongoing, no final decision has been made and there’s no certainty Reliance will decide to proceed with a formal offer, according to the people. Deutsche Telekom declined to comment. A representative for Reliance could not immediately comment.
Deutsche Telekom is working with Morgan Stanley on the sale of the business, which has attracted interest from private equity firms including Apax Partners, Apollo Global Management Inc., BC Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Warburg Pincus, Bloomberg News reported last month.
Reliance is India’s largest company by market value with a business that spans oil refining, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunications. A deal for T-Mobile Netherlands would represent a rare purchase in Europe and come as Ambani tries to transform Reliance from an old-economy conglomerate into a technology and e-commerce titan.
Deutsche Telekom entered the Dutch mobile-phone market in 2000, acquiring a stake in a venture with Belgacom SA and Tele Danmark. The business was renamed T-Mobile Netherlands in 2003 after the German carrier bought the remainder.
It considered a sale of the unit in 2015 to raise funds to buy wireless frequencies in the U.S., before deciding to keep the business. In 2019, T-Mobile Netherlands merged with Tele2 AB’s operations in the country to create one of the biggest local carriers.
Speaking at an investor day in May, Tele2’s Chief Executive Officer Kjell Johnsen confirmed the company planned to sell its 25% holding in T-Mobile Netherlands and focus on its core markets in the Nordics and Baltics. –Bloomberg
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