KPN Foundation blocks Slim’s takeover bid

Carlos Slim’s €7.2 billion takeover bid for KPN has been blocked by the KPN Foundation, an independent entity in the Netherlands formed to protect the Dutch operator.

The foundation announced late last night that it had exercised the option of buying certain shares in KPN, giving it almost 50% of the company’s voting stock and effectively preventing América Móvil’s takeover attempt.

"The foundation has intervened in this way in order to safeguard the interests of KPN and its stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, trade unions and Dutch society more generally," the foundation said it a statement.

The move has brought Slim’s attempts – which looked to be making significant progress over the last few weeks – virtually to a halt, but a future takeover is still possible.

"We wouldn't be surprised to see AMX go to [the European Union] to challenge the authority and legality of the foundation on the back of this move," Imari Love, analyst at Morningstar told Reuters.

"It's clear the foundation is trying to keep KPN Dutch-owned by using this poison pill, which in effect has the same impact as a golden share, which are illegal."

According to the Financial Times, KPN is concerned for the interest of minority shareholders, should America Movil’s bid eventually succeed, and on Monday, the company said any deal would include “adequate minority shareholder protection”.

Earlier this month América Móvil approved Telefónica Deutschland’s amended bid for KPN subsidiary, E-Plus amid analyst speculation that Slim’s bid was part of a strategy to increase Telefónica’s offer.