Apax Partners, Warburg Acquire T-Mobile Netherlands

Private equity firms Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus are acquiring T-Mobile Netherlands from Deutsche Telekom AG and Tele2 AB. The deal’s enterprise value of €5.1 billion, or roughly US$6 billion.

This is technology M&A deal number 549 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2021. See all technology M&A deals for 2021 and 2020 listed here.

This deal involves T-Mobile’s network operator business in the Netherlands — which offers nationwide 5G and supports roughly 700,000 broadband customers. Under the new ownership, T-Mobile will become an independent Dutch company. A potential rebrand was not mentioned in the M&A announcement.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom also inked a $7 billion share-swap deal with SoftBank Group to increase its stake in U.S. unit T-Mobile, Reuters reports. The result: Deutsche Telekom will raise its stake in T-Mobile US by 5.3% to 48.4%, bringing CEO Tim Hoettges closer to his goal of securing direct control over the $170 billion U.S. telecoms operator, Reuters notes.

The financial deals surface as T-Mobile strives to recover from a data breach that triggered worldwide scrutiny of the mobile operator in August 2021.

Apax Partners, Warburg: Experienced Service Provider Investors

The buyers have extensive experience acquiring and/or investing in MSPs (managed IT service providers) MSSPs (managed security services providers); communication service providers (CSPs); and the TMT (telecom, media and technology) sectors. For instance, Apax acquired:

Meanwhile, Warburg Pincus investments have involved Ziggo, Inexio and Community Fibre.

Apax and Warburg Pincus both invested in mobile satellite operator Inmarsat in 2019.

T-Mobile Netherlands Acquired: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the deal, Søren Abildgaard, CEO T-Mobile Netherlands, said:

“Today is a big day for us. We are excited about the path ahead and to work together with Apax and Warburg Pincus over the coming years. We are looking forward to continuing our strategy in the Dutch market, offering superior value to our customers. As such, we remain steadfast in our promise to deliver the best possible customer experience, powered by the best mobile network in the world. We have come a long way and re-positioned T-Mobile as a winning player by driving innovation and change within the market, being the first mobile operator to offer unlimited and nationwide 5G. I am proud of what we as a team have achieved in the past and believe we are today better positioned than ever for the next chapter.”

Added René Obermann, co-head of Europe and MD of Warburg Pincus Deutschland:

‘’Hats off to the talented people at T-Mobile/Tele2/Ben and Simpel for what they have accomplished! Ultra-fast wireless internet, the most highly regarded customer support and innovative services – at affordable rates. Yet the wireless revolution has only just begun. Over the next decade everyone will be able to remotely participate from anywhere in the world, enjoying an unprecedented virtual experience, and it will be possible for everything to be connected; becoming smarter, more efficient and safer. We will support the company to lead this development and invest even more into people and their skills, next generation networks and digital services, so that customers will ask: ‘’Waarom kunnen andere telecom bedrijven niet zo goed zijn als T-Mobile?’’ (“Why can other telecom companies not be as good as T Mobile?’’)

Concluded Gabriele Cipparrone, partner at Apax:

“T-Mobile fits perfectly with the Apax Funds strategy of investing in innovative companies with solid fundamentals and strong growth prospects. Thanks to the excellent work of its talented management team and employees, T-Mobile enjoys strong brand recognition and has become the leading mobile operator in the Netherlands, with a growing presence in fixed broadband, leveraging future-proof fibre to the home technology. We look forward to supporting the Company to further accelerate growth and become a leading convergent player, by enhancing its network leadership, growing its fibre to the home customer base and delivering a best-in-class customer service.”

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

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