Reuters reports that KPN Telecom (or Royal KPN), the beleaguered Dutch telecom operator in the sights of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu, has attracted a number of interested bidders for the proposed sale of its Belgian fixed and mobile unit BASE, which could help it raise up to EUR1.7 billion (USD2.1 billion) – deemed crucial to cutting its debt. Unconfirmed sources familiar with the situation say that the likes of private equity groups Blackstone, Providence and Cinven have all submitted non-binding offers for BASE, along with Belgium media group De Persgroep and local cableco Telenet. KPN is hoping to find a buyer for BASE by September, but has confirmed that the sale could be called off if no satisfactory bid is received. Adding to KPN’s problems, Carlos Slim’s America Movil – which is the new 28% shareholder in the Dutch telco – has also expressed its preference to keep BASE under KPN’s wing.
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