KPN buys Dutch assets of KPNQwest

30 July 2002 -- Dutch incumbent KPN has agreed with the administrators of bankrupt data services provider KPNQwest to buy its Dutch assets for "a couple million Euros".

30 July 2002 -- Dutch incumbent telecoms company Royal KPN NV has agreed with the administrators of bankrupt data services provider KPNQwest to buy its Dutch assets for "a couple million Euros". These comprise the central part of its Eurorings network and an operating centre in The Hague.

KPNQwest was established in 1998 as a joint venture by KPN and US phone operator Qwest Communications Inc. The 25,000km data network - Europe's largest, spanning 18 countries - cost billions of Euros to build and carried over 40% of Europe's Internet traffic, leading to a valuation of EUR42bn.

However, KPNQwest was declared bankrupt in late May. After the withdrawal of several bidders - including the USA's AT&T, which offered EUR200m for the entire network - KPN led a consortium to keep the network running while users migratd to alternative service providers.

KPN is also still in talks with banks and local administrators to buy other parts of the Eurorings network in Germany and Belgium as well as an undersea link to the UK. KPN had in the past bid EUR20m for the Dutch assets plus the other assets it wants to buy. However, creditors say there are "more bidders". One is said to be Sweden's Telia AB, which has already acquired assets in France.

Creditor banks, which are still owed over EUR200m, are "deeply disappointed" by the EUR30m raised so far by liquidators for KPNQwest's assets and are still considering suing KPN for over EUR20m which KPNQwest claims it owes.


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