KPN is selling its network of 23 large transmission towers to French broadcast transmission specialists TDF (Telediffusion de France). In addition, one tower will remain the property of KPN, but will be managed by TDF. So far, no financial details have been disclosed.
Prior to the Dutch national analogue switch-off, overnight on Sunday December 10 – Monday December 11 2006, these towers hosted the country’s analogue TV and radio broadcasts, supplemented with mobile telephony and other communication transmitters. Currently they host part of the transmitter network of KPN’s Digitenne DTT service, a ten year lease has been put in place to ensure continued operation of the DTT service. Some sites are, however, to be replaced by smaller antenna towers upon completion of the national Digitenne network later this year.
KPN acquired the towers last year when it purchased national broadcast and transmission service provider Nozema Services NV from the Dutch government in a deal worth €75 million. For Dutch competition authority NMA to grant its approval, it required KPN to transfer management to an independent operator company and to sell off, within two years of closing, (part) of Nozema’s network of transmission towers to an ‘independent third party’ (read foreign, ed.) that meets with the approval of the Dutch competition authorty. NMA has still to approve the sale of the towers to TDF.
Last autumn France Telecom, the French counterpart of Dutch incumbent Telco KPN, sold sixty percent of Paris based TDF to private equity investors The Texas Pacific Group and AXA Private Equity in a deal reportedly worth €3.3 billion. TDF already owns and operates more than 7,500 towers across Europe, resulting in sales of €954 million over 2005. (DK)