Monday 03 August 2020

Dutch draw up new law to block ‘damaging’ telecom sector takeovers

Server farms will also fall under the new rules. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Takeovers in the telecoms sector which could damage the national interest will be stopped in the Netherlands, if new legislation drawn up by economic affairs minister Henk Kamp becomes law.

The draft bill will enable ministers to prevent takeovers of ‘telephony, data centres, hosting services and internet’ companies which are ‘of vital importance to national security and public order,’ according to an economic affairs ministry statement.

The legislation will give ministers the option of banning or reversing takeovers within the telecoms sector with the aim of securing continuity, the reliability of services and the public interest, the ministry said.

Commentators said the new law was inspired by the attempt by Mexican telecoms company America Movil to take over KPN in 2013. Kamp said at the time he was powerless to stop the takeover, which eventually failed.

Dutch ministers also intervened last year when Belgian state postal company Bpost tried to take over PostNL. That takeover bid also flopped.

Criminal activities

‘Our country will not benefit from takeovers by foreign firms which are linked to criminal activities, are financially vulnerable or do not have a transparent ownership structure,’ Kamp said in the statement.

The draft legislation has now been put out to consultation and Kamp hopes to submit it to parliament before the summer.

The ministry is also looking at ways of ensuring the continuity of other services, such as postal delivery.

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