KPN has rejected a takeover offer worth about €18bn from a private equity consortium in the past two weeks, putting pressure on the bidders to raise their offer price for the Dutch telecoms group.

EQT and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners have been circling KPN since last year and started conducting due diligence earlier last month, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the talks.

They lodged a bid but this has been rejected by the KPN board, with the pair now considering whether to raise their offer, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

EQT and Stonepeak were preparing a possible €3-a-share offer that would value the company at about €12.5bn. The company has €5.2bn of debt, giving it an enterprise value of almost €18bn at that level. The details of the potential offer were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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Source: Financial Times

By Nic Fildes and Kaye Wiggins