América Móvil achieves 27.7% KPN stake target

Carlos Slim's América Móvil has met its target of obtaining 27.7% of Dutch carrier KPN’s shares following overwhelming backing from the company’s shareholders.

The stake acquisition comes despite protest from KPN’s management advising shareholders not to accept América Móvil’s €8 per share offer, stating that it undervalued the company.

Shareholders representing nearly 40% of KPN’s shares responded to the offer when the bidding process closed on Wednesday. But because América Móvil had already acquired a 24.9% stake before the date only 2.8% of the shares needed to be purchased.

KPN had tried to sell its German mobile operation E-Plus to try to halt the stake purchase, but having failed to reach an agreement with Teléfonica for a merger of their German businesses, was left with few options to prevent the sale.

América Móvil also acquired a 21% stake in Telekom Austria earlier this month leading to speculation that it may try to combine the two companies into a larger European operation.

Stefan Amon, Telekom Austria’s head of wholesale, told Capacity that he thought Slim was looking for stakes in the European market with “interesting footprints”, rather than merging the two companies. “When you put KPN and Telekom Austria next to each other the synergies are not on the table,” he said.

Slim’s interest in Europe comes with América Móvil having exhausted all options in its home Latin American market. The European financial crisis has forced down the share price of telecoms companies in the region making investment an attractive prospect.

In an interview with the Financial Times this month, América Móvil’s CFO Carlos Garcia Moreno, said that he wanted the company to work closely with KPN in areas such as procurement as a long term partner, and that the company was not working on further acquisitions in the region.

It was also reported that Dutch deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen had invited América Móvil for a meeting to emphasise the interests of clients, shareholders and employees of KPN, and the company’s duties with regard to telephone and internet traffic.