Mexico-based telecoms giant America Movil, owned by the billionaire Carlos Slim, announced yesterday that it has boosted its stake in Dutch telecoms group KPN (or Royal KPN as it is also known) to 8.46%. In its fourth such share increase in as many weeks, AM purchased another 4.65 million ordinary shares in the Dutch incumbent, ramping up pressure on KPN’s shareholders to accept his offer for an even bigger stake in the former monopoly.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, at the end of last month AM launched a formal bid for a 27.7% stake in the Dutch telecoms group, following an announcement earlier in the month that it was considering a possible USD3.45 billion deal for the shares as part of a plan to secure a foothold in the European market. KPN swiftly dismissed the offer as too low and announced that it would ‘continue to explore all strategic options’, instead.
However, on 31 May Slim’s group boosted its total holding in KPN to 5.01% – albeit it did not divulge the price it paid at the time – and then on 11 June AM acquired a total of six million ordinary shares of KPN, via four separate transactions, to increase its overall holding in the carrier at the time, to 7.3%. Excepting the 31 May purchase, AM has raised its KPN stock at a lower price than his current tender offer for up to 27.7% of the group.
TeleGeography notes that having exhausted most of the potential acquisition targets in the Latin American region, Slim is turning his attention to the European stage where he can take advantage of the fact that the economic crisis has left a number of telecoms operators vulnerable to takeover. Only last week, AM agreed to buy a stake in the Telekom Austria Group from Viennese businessman Ronny Pecik and his Egyptian partner, Naguib Sawiris. As it stands, following the successful completion of these deals, AM will directly own 7,935,700 shares, or 1.79% of the company’s total shareholding, and indirectly, via Netherlands-based investment vehicle AMOV Europa, own 92,901,174 shares or 20.97% of Telekom Austria. This would equate to a total direct and indirect holding of 100,836,874 shares or 22.76% of Telekom Austria’s total shareholding.