March 5, 2019 / 2:28 PM / 4 months ago

Dutch government seeks power to block unwanted telecom takeovers

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government submitted a law to parliament on Tuesday that would enable it to block takeovers of telecom companies if they were deemed a threat to national security.

The law forces anyone interested in buying a telecom company, data centre or hosting services provider to report to the Economic Affairs Ministry, which will decide whether the takeover would make services less reliable.

“Internet, data traffic and telephone services are basic needs”, Deputy Economy Minister Mona Keijzer said. “We therefore want to protect this vital sector against unwanted influences.”

The Dutch government has sought effective powers to block unwanted takeovers in the telecom sector since 2013, when Mexico’s America Movil unsuccessfully tried to buy the country’s leading telephone company, KPN.

KPN shares fell more than 3 percent after the takeover bill was announced and traded down 2.4 percent, at 2.67 euros, at 1445 GMT.

Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Edmund Blair

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