Brussels, Belgium, 9th February 2021 – International communications enabler BICS today announces that Proximus has acquired MTN and Swisscom’s shares in the company (20% and 22.4% of issued shares respectively) for a total transaction value of €569 million, making Proximus the sole shareholder of BICS and TeleSign. 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.
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 leader in digital communications, cloud communication services, mobility and 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 realize economies of scale through consolidation in a highly fragmented market. Therefore, whilst impacted by worldwide travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, BICS is set to recover progressively as these measures are eased.
TeleSign is a fast-growing digital leader specialized 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 after year. With the recent appointment of Joseph Burton as CEO, TeleSign will 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.
“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,” said Matteo Gatta, BICS 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”.
“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,” added 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.”
Proximus Group (Euronext Brussels: PROX) is a provider of digital services and communication solutions operating in the Belgian and international markets. Delivering communication and entertainment experiences for residential consumers and enabling digital transformation for enterprises, we open up a world of digital opportunities so people live better and work smarter. Thanks to advanced interconnected fixed and mobile networks, Proximus provides access anywhere and anytime to digital services and data, as well as to a broad offering of multimedia content. Proximus is a pioneer in ICT innovation, with integrated solutions based on IoT, Data analytics, cloud and security.
Proximus has the ambition to become the reference operator in Europe through next generation networks, a truly digital mindset and a spirit of openness towards partnerships and ecosystems, while contributing to a safe, sustainable, inclusive and prosperous digital Belgium.
In Belgium, Proximus’ core products and services are offered under the Proximus and Scarlet brands. The Group is also active in Luxembourg as, under the brand names Tango and Telindus Luxembourg, and in the Netherlands through Telindus Netherlands. The Group’s international carrier activities are managed by BICS, a leading international communications enabler, one of the key global voice carriers and the leading provider of mobile data services worldwide.
With 12,931 employees, all engaged to offer customers a superior experience, the Group realized an underlying Group revenue of EUR 5,686 million end-2019.