Reliance said to weigh bid for T-Mobile Netherlands: Report

New Delhi (IANS)┬áBillionaire Mukesh Ambanis Reliance Industries is weighing a bid for Deutsche Telekom AG’s Netherlands subsidiary, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported.

The Indian conglomerate is working with an adviser to evaluate an offer for T-Mobile Netherlands, the sources said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential.

Deutsche Telekom is seeking about 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) in any sale, the people said.

The report said that deliberations are ongoing, no final decision has been made and there’s no certainty that Reliance will decide to proceed with a formal offer, according to the people.

Deutsche Telekom declined to comment. A representative for Reliance also could not comment immediately.

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, Providence Equity and Warburg Pincus, Bloomberg had reported last month.

Buyout firms are drawn to such assets as they can gain control of underlying infrastructure, which offers steady long-term returns.

In May, Dutch telecom group Royal KPN NV had said that it had rejected an “unsolicited high-level approach” from investment firms EQT AB and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.

Reliance is India’s largest company by market value, with a business that spans oil refining, petrochemicals, retail and telecommunication sectors.

A deal for T-Mobile Netherlands would represent a rare purchase in Europe and come as Mukesh Ambani tries to transform Reliance from an old-economy conglomerate into a technology and e-commerce titan, the report said.

Ambani had said previously that he eventually wants to expand Reliance’s digital unit — Jio Platforms — overseas and last year it secured more than $20 billion of backing from the investors, including Facebook.

“This could be one step forward in that direction, in addition to leveraging natural synergies to Jio,” said Kranthi Bathini, a strategist at Mumbai-based consultancy WealthMills Securities.

“This could also serve as the beginning of aggressive acquisitions in this space and deploying funds in different geographies after Jio Platforms raised record money last year,” Bathini said.

Shares in Reliance have risen 5.2 per cent this year, giving it a market value of 13.7 trillion rupees ($184 billion). The stock rose as much as 1.7 per cent on Tuesday, before giving up some of these gains.

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.

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