Telefonica SA today denied it is discussiong a merger with Dutch telco KPN. This weekend the Wall Street Journal reported that Telefonica is making a $24bn bid for the Dutch company. Initially, both KPN and Telefonica declined to comment. Now, a Telefonica spokesman tells the financial news service AFX "that we want to deny that there have been talks with KPN".
Five years ago KPN and Telefonica discussed a merger, but Telefonica backed off because of concerns about the Dutch government's stake in KPN. At that time, the Dutch government owned about 43 per cent of KPN. Now it only holds a 20 per cent stake. Also, both companies were hit by the collapse of the tech bubble.
Telefonica, however, is clearly on a shopping spree. The company, which has a customer base of over 145 million, recently took a 51 per cent stake in the Czech Republic's Cesky Telecom. ®