Freenet Group

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freenet AG

legal form Corporation
founding March 2, 2007
Seat Büdelsdorf , GermanyGermanyGermany 
  • Ingo Arnold, Chief Financial Officer & Controlling ( CFO )
  • Stephan Esch, IT Director ( CTO )
  • Antonius Fromme, Head of Customer Relations ( CCO )
Number of employees 4238 (2019)
sales 2.93 billion euros (2019)
Branch telecommunications
As of December 31, 2019

The freenet AG is a publicly traded German telecommunications company based in Büdelsdorf . It was founded on May 26, 2005 as Telunico Holding AG in preparation for the merger of Mobilcom AG with AG. On March 2, 2007, Telunico Holding AG, renamed freenet AG, incorporated Mobilcom and Freenet has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since March 5, 2007 . Freenet is the largest network-independent telecommunications company in Germany.

Prehistory as was founded in December 1999 as an internet service provider and internet portal , Mobilcom held a 50.43% stake in The Internet portal represented the traditional core business of and includes the marketing of content and functions via the website The free services included information and news services for a wide variety of areas, such as B. economy, society, sport and entertainment as well as the Freenet community . The portal also included paid services such as the e-mail office and the singles community. In order to increase sales via the freenet portal, the classical Freenet was Narrowband - Internet ( modem , ISDN ) via internet-by-call and its own dial-in nodes at each dial the home page of the Freenet portal (by proxy ) in the web browser ; shown Accordingly, the narrowband access business also served primarily as a sales driver for the portal business and the payment services.

Since March 2003, the company offered a broadband access based on T-DSL and T-DSL ZISP its own IP - Backbone of which also have reseller is marketed; In the further course of the year, AG bought the entire fixed-line business from its parent company, Mobilcom, and developed from a pure internet service provider to a telecommunications provider . In spring 2004, started Internet telephony ( Voice over IP ) in Germany and abroad with the freenet iPhone offer . From autumn 2004 sold T-DSL resale lines under its own name.

At the turn of the year 2004/2005, the web hosting area came into the company through the takeover of the provider Strato and the value-added service business through the acquisition of the former Talkline ID (now NEXT ID GmbH) (provider of service numbers in the range 0800 , 0900 , 0180 and intelligent network services) Portfolio. Both acquisitions strengthened the previously weak business-to-business division in particular . In addition, Freenet and RapidSolution Software founded air2mp3 in Karlsruhe on May 1st, 2004 . From 2006 onwards, the technology partners QSC and Telefónica implemented DSL access in their collocation expansion areas (2007 with around 50–60% population coverage) using line sharing instead of T-DSL resale; in addition there were Komplettanschluss packages without bundled telecom - landline -based DSL data connections available. At the beginning of 2007, the German business-to-consumer division (narrowband, DSL) was taken over by Tiscali .

History after the merger with Mobilcom

Company headquarters in Büdelsdorf near Rendsburg

The freenet AG is essentially set up as a holding company since March 2007 and provides for the merger of Mobilcom and through its subsidiaries on a wide range of telecommunications services. This included the DSL access business bundled in freenet broadband, the mobile communications business run under Mobilcom Communicationstechnik (today Mobilcom-Debitel ) and the internet and e-mail business organized in GmbH.

The companies Drillisch and United Internet intended to take over freenet in 2008 and then split them up into the Internet for United Internet and mobile communications for Drillisch. The Freenet announced in April 2008, through its subsidiary Mobilcom-Debitel the Debitel with their liabilities for about 1.6 billion euros from the private equity firm Permira to take over. An agreement with the Debitel lenders is already perfect. This would make Permira the largest single shareholder in Freenet with almost 25 percent, while the new shares would significantly reduce the percentage of Drillisch and United Internet. The Permira stood behind the Freenet CEO Eckhard Spoerr. The replacement of the supervisory board and the management board Spoerr at the general meeting on August 8, 2008 failed. However, after almost 10 years of running Freenet, CEO Spoerr declared his resignation on January 23, 2009 in mid-December 2008. He justified his resignation with months of complications with the two investors United Internet and Drillisch. His successor as interim CEO was Joachim Preisig, who was previously a member of the board of the acquired Debitel.

The DSL division was spun off into Freenet broadband and offered for sale in mid-June 2008. Vodafone Germany expressed interest in the DSL division. The sale of the DSL division continued to stall until the beginning of March 2009. At the end of May 2009, United Internet announced the takeover of the DSL division with around 700,000 DSL customers. The purchase price of 123 million euros was financed at around 70 million euros in cash and the remaining 63 million euros with United Internet shares. The technical migration and billing was completed on December 1, 2009. Existing Freenet customers could switch to a 1 & 1 tariff or keep the old tariff. Since then, Freenet has "recommended" the 1 & 1 Internet connections in its shops to its customers. With approx. 3.5 million DSL customers, United Internet became the second largest DSL provider after Deutsche Telekom. Debitel Nederland BV with 120 employees and approx. 530,000 customers has meanwhile been sold to the Dutch mobile operator KPN .

Also in 2009 around 1,000 stores of the chains mobilcom , debitel , _dug and Talkline were merged under the uniform brand mobilcom-debitel in the mobilcom-debitel shop. O2 took over 80 freenet shops and converted them into O2 shops and partner shops by summer 2009. The Talkline mobile communications brand has also been managed by mobilcom-debitel GmbH since then. GmbH has been selling mobile phone tariffs from the so-called no-frills environment under the discount brands callmobile , klarmobil and crash tariffs since 2009 . The brand name will be continued for the portal business. As a result of this restructuring of business areas and locations, the number of employees in the freenet Group fell by 2,861 to 4,394 in the course of 2009.

The successor to CEO Eckhard Spoerr, who left the company in mid-January 2009, and to interim CEO Preisig, was Christoph Vilanek , a manager coming from Debitel .

In December 2012, Freenet sold FreeXmedia to Media Ventures ( Ströer Group) and 4Players GmbH to Computec Media (Marquard Media). On December 18, 2012, Freenet AG also announced that mobilcom-debitel GmbH , which belongs to the freenet group, wanted to take over Gravis Computervertriebsgesellschaft mbH. After approval by the cartel authorities, the takeover was completed in early 2013. In 2013, the takeover of all company shares in Jesta Digital GmbH followed , which was renamed freenet digital in 2014 . In March 2013, mobilcom-debitel GmbH acquired 51 percent of the shares in MOTION TM Vertriebs GmbH .

In 2016, Freenet acquired around a quarter of the shares in the Swiss Sunrise Communications Group AG for € 714 million . In the same year, Freenet bought 100 percent of the shares in Media Broadcast through mobilcom-debitel , thereby expanding its portfolio to include television and radio broadcasting services. With the acquisition of around a quarter of the shares in Exaring, Freenet expanded its TV business.

In June 2018, Freenet AG announced the takeover of almost ten percent of the shares in the parent company of the MediaMarktSaturn trading group , Ceconomy . The takeover took place as part of a capital increase at Ceconomy at a total price of around 277 million euros or 8.50 euros per share. In 2019, Freenet AG held 50.01% of Exaring AG, to which belongs.

At the end of December 2019, the freenet Group sold its 51 percent stake in MOTION TM Vertriebs GmbH and returned the shares to the old shareholders.

Today's corporate structure

Freenet divides its activities into the following business areas:

  • Cellular
  • TV and media
  • Other / Holding

Today Freenet describes itself as a “digital lifestyle provider”. The Freenet Group has 11 locations in Germany and operates nationwide with around 4400 employees. It is represented in Germany with around 560 mobilcom-debitel shops and 43 Gravis stores. In addition, Freenet has around 400 exclusive partnerships with electronics stores and several thousand other retail and distribution partners in specialist shops as well as active online sales.

The chairman of the supervisory board is Helmut Thoma .

Ownership structure

proportion of Shareholders
15.39% Flossbach von Storch
6.40% BlackRock
3.40% iShares Trust
74.81% Other shareholders / free float

The free float as defined by Deutsche Börse is 78.21%.

Status (last notification of voting rights ): March 21, 2019.

brand names

Freenet is mainly active under the following brand names:


In April 2018, the managing director of Media Broadcast , of which Freenet is one hundred percent, announced that, due to a contractual dispute over FM broadcasting, large parts of the German FM network would have to be shut down if no agreement was reached, as there were no orders for continued operation . There was a controversial exchange of letters between the former Federal Minister for Post and Telecommunications, Christian Schwarz-Schilling , who is also a partner in the transmission service provider Uplink, and the Freenet supervisory board members Helmut Thoma and Wolfgang Clement . The Thuringian State Media Secretary Malte Krückels sided with Schwarz-Schilling and demanded that broadcasting operations be maintained. In a further letter, 32 radio broadcasters turned directly to the Federal Minister of Economics, saying that they would endanger their existence if the stations were switched off.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. freenet AG: Website The Management Board of freenet AG , accessed on June 12, 2020.
  2. a b Annual Report 2019. (pdf) In: Retrieved June 12, 2020 .
  3. Press release: Merger of Mobilcom AG and AG , March 2, 2007.
  4. Freenet AG: Annual Report 2011. (PDF; 1.8 MB) Archived from the original on March 28, 2017 ; accessed on March 27, 2017 .
  5. Financial news: freenet takes over business from Tiscali Germany , February 28, 2007.
  6. heise online: freenet supervisory board advises on Debitel purchase. Retrieved March 24, 2019 .
  7. Freenet boss before showdown with United Internet and Drillisch - Retrieved March 24, 2019 .
  8. heise mobil - Report: Lenders agree to sell Debitel to freenet - from April 24, 2008 ( Memento from January 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  9. heise online: freenet supervisory board advises on Debitel purchase. Retrieved March 24, 2019 .
  10. Florian von Hennet: Freenet buys big. BörsenMan, April 28, 2008, archived from the original on April 19, 2011 ; accessed on March 27, 2017 .
  11. Thomas Heuzeroth: Permira strengthens Freenet management . July 21, 2008 ( online [accessed March 24, 2019]).
  12. - freenet boss wins trial of strength - criticism from major shareholders ( memento from August 15, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) from August 10, 2008.
  13. a b Sandra Louven: Farewell to the festival of love. In: . December 29, 2008, accessed February 13, 2015 .
  14. a b Freenet boss Spoerr gives up surprisingly. In: . December 24, 2008, accessed February 13, 2015 .
  15. freenet offers DSL line for sale. In: June 20, 2008, archived from the original on June 29, 2008 ; Retrieved June 20, 2008 .
  16. DSL - Vodafone shows interest in freenet DSL customers. In: July 23, 2008, archived from the original on July 29, 2008 ; Retrieved June 20, 2008 .
  17. Unknown title. In: Archived from the original on April 1, 2009 ; accessed on February 13, 2015 .
  18. Freenet sells DSL business to United Internet , Channel Partner, May 26, 2009, accessed January 26, 2010.
  19. United Internet swallows Freenet's DSL business. In: . May 27, 2009, accessed February 13, 2015 .
  20. heise online: KPN completes takeover of Debitel Nederland. Retrieved March 3, 2019 .
  21. ^ "Mobilcom-debitel" - new shop concept for Freenet brands from February 13, 2009 , accessed on February 3, 2010. (offline)
  22. ^ Name "mobilcom-debitel" - more details from February 14, 2009 , accessed on February 3, 2010. (offline)
  23. Freenet mobile becomes Mobilcom-Debitel on February 12, 2009 , accessed on March 27, 2017.
  24. Freenet brings new CEO of Debitel. In: . April 7, 2009, accessed February 13, 2015 .
  25. GRAVIS becomes part of the freenet Group: takeover by mobilcom-debitel. In: December 18, 2012, accessed March 27, 2017 .
  26. Freenet takes over Apple dealer Gravis [2. Update]. In: heise online. Retrieved March 24, 2019 .
  27. Freenet buys Jesta Digital , December 17, 2013
  28. Mobilcom-Debitel takes over online distributor Motion TM. February 21, 2013, accessed September 19, 2018 .
  29. Handelsblatt Online: Freenet joins Schweizer Sunrise , March 17, 2016
  30. Handelsblatt Online: Freenet buys Media Broadcast , March 3, 2016
  31. Freenet buys operator for HD antenna television , March 3, 2016
  32. Wirtschaftswoche: Freenet joins Ceconomy , June 29, 2018
  33. Streaming: How hot will get for the advertising market? Retrieved March 3, 2019 .
  34. Annual Report 2019. (pdf) In: Retrieved June 12, 2020 .
  35. According to Freenet AG: "Interim report as of September 30, 2016 - 3rd quarter 2016" , p. 5
  36. Own presentation on the Freenet Group website , as of December 31, 2015.
  37. freenet Group | Investor Relations. Retrieved May 15, 2019 .
  38. Freenet self-presentation: The brand world of the Freenet Group ( Memento from March 28, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  39. Digital Lifestyle. Retrieved February 25, 2019 .
  40. ^ Ringtoneking (DE). Retrieved February 25, 2019 .
  41. Thomas Heuzeroth: Radio: On Wednesday, there is a threat of end for VHF transmitters in many places . In: THE WORLD . April 5, 2018 ( online [accessed April 22, 2018]).
  42. ^ Zoff about threatened VHF blackout: Now ex-economics minister Wolfgang Clement hooks up ›Meedia. Retrieved April 22, 2018 .
  43. Thuringian State Chancellery: 96-2018 VHF must stay on the air - State Secretary for Media Krückels: Threat of shutdown remains unacceptable. April 10, 2018, accessed April 22, 2018 .
  44. Radios urge economics ministers to intervene: Broadcasters see existence threatened by Freenet subsidiary ›Meedia. Retrieved April 22, 2018 .