Proximus buys out MTN and Swisscom to take full ownership of BICS

International communications enabler BICS announced that Proximus has acquired MTN and Swisscom’s shares in the company (20% and 22.4% of issued shares respectively). This makes Proximus the sole shareholder in BICS and TeleSign, for a total transaction value of €569 million.

As a result of this acquisition, BICS will be able to accelerate its growth plans through a combination of organic investments in key domains, a strict focus on cashflow generation within its core services, and capturing in-market consolidation opportunities.
(Also see: BICS board and Kurgan agree his departure, Gatta appointed new CEO and Burton to lead TeleSign.)

Last summer, Proximus communicated to the market that the shareholders of BICS were exploring a potential sale of 51% of the company’s shares. After investigating different options, Proximus concluded that the best way to execute upon its plans and have the necessary flexibility to create long-term value for BICS and TeleSign was to acquire 100% ownership of BICS. MTN and Swisscom will remain important commercial partners of BICS.

As a global provider of digital communications, cloud communication services, mobility and Internet of Things (IoT), BICS addresses business-critical needs of telecoms players, virtual network operators, service providers, enterprise software providers and global enterprises.

Underpinned by an unrivalled global operating platform, BICS has considerably diversified its activities over the past years, showing strong growth potential in new business areas such as roaming, IoT and cloud communication. At the same time, BICS is one of the few players with the critical mass required to realise economies of scale through consolidation in a highly fragmented market. Therefore, whilst impacted by worldwide travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, BICS says it is set to recover progressively as these measures are eased.

More autonomy for TeleSign

TeleSign is a fast-growing specialist in authentication and digital identity services to the world’s largest internet brands, digital champions and cloud native businesses. Since its acquisition by BICS, it has achieved an impressive double-digit revenue growth year on year. With the recent appointment of Joseph Burton as CEO (see story link above), TeleSign will, says Proximus, enjoy increased autonomy to focus on accelerating its growth, leveraging its technology and global scale to help the world’s largest enterprises with the digital transformation of their businesses. The TeleSign growth strategy is centred around driving further product innovation and differentiation, while exploring possibilities for geographic expansion.

Matteo Gatta

“Having served on the BICS board of directors since 2011, I have seen first-hand the impressive track record of diversification and growth of BICS,” says Matteo Gatta, BICS’ recently appointed CEO. “With the support of Proximus, we will accelerate this trajectory. Thanks to our scale we are best positioned for the inevitable international voice market consolidation, while pursuing opportunities to strengthen our core mobility services.

In addition, we are increasingly exposed to the fast-paced digital transformation, thanks to our best-in-class Cloud Communications, IoT, and All-In Roaming solutions which build upon BICS’ extensive network reach. With Proximus on our side, we are committed to long-term value creation for BICS and to the success of our customers”.

Guillaume Boutin

“I am excited to conclude this agreement, allowing us to retain a growth engine within the Group and maintain full control over the globally renowned assets of BICS,” adds Guillaume Boutin, CEO of the Proximus Group. “I am convinced we can unlock the next growth phase of BICS and leverage BICS’ potential to consolidate a scattered market, while continuing to invest in key growth areas.

Furthermore, we want to support TeleSign’s fast growth as digital leader in programmable communications and digital identity services. I have full confidence in the capacity of Matteo Gatta and Joe Burton, as recently appointed CEOs of BICS and TeleSign, to guide this acceleration and ensure a bright future for both entities.”

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