Having successfully entered and disrupted France’s telco market, first in triple play and then in mobile, he’s recently been setting his sights on new markets. Although the T-mobile US acquisition didn’t go his way, he did have have a successful first move abroad by taking a 55% stake in Monoco Telecom. Now he’s wrapping up the year with a second acquisition; announcing the acquisition of Orange Suisse from Apax Partners for €2.3 billion. Apax initially acquired the Swiss mobile operator in 2011 for €1.6 billion from Orange who was looking to exit the telecom space in Switzerland to refocus the bulk of their efforts on France and emerging markets. Incidentally, Niel originally tried to purchase Orange Suisse when it was for sale in 2011, but Orange opted for Apax.
The transaction will go via Niel’s private holding company NJJ Holdings. With the acquisition, he will take on a company of 871 employees that has 1.6 million clients, roughly 20% of the mobile market. Niel and his team should be well equipped to bring into the fold the mobile operator as, according to Niel, they’ve been “closely following Orange Suisse’s development since 2012.”
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