June 25, 2024

DealBook: America Movil Spends $1.59 Billion to Lift Stake in KPN

A branch of KPN, the Dutch wireless phone and Internet service provider, in The Hague.Jock Fistick/Bloomberg NewsA branch of KPN, the Dutch wireless phone and Internet service provider, in The Hague.

América Móvil, the Mexican mobile operator owned by the billionaire Carlos Slim Helú, extended its foothold in Europe after paying 1.27 billion euros, or $1.59 billion, to increase its stake in the Dutch telecommunications company KPN to 20.9 percent.

The move, announced late on Thursday, comes as KPN is losing the battle to keep América Móvil from increasing its ownership in the European company.

The Dutch telecom company has been trying to sell its German and Belgian operations in an effort to thwart Mr. Slim’s advances.

On Thursday, KPN said it had broken off talks to sell its German business. The potential suitor had been the Spanish telecom giants Telefónica, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. KPN also said it would start the sale process for its Belgian unit in July.

The tactics follow an announcement in May from América Móvil that it had offered KPN shareholders 8 euros a share to increase its stake in KPN to 28 percent. Since then, the Mexican mobile operator has progressively bought shares in the company at prices well below its offer price

América Móvil’s most recent purchase of KPN shares averaged around 7.6 euros a share. In early afternoon trading in America, shares in KPN had fallen 4.2 percent, to 7.16 euros.

KPN said that América Móvil’s offer continued to undervalue the company.

América Movil’s bid for KPN is part of company’s strategy to expand into European markets.

Last week, the Mexican operator, which has more than 240 million customers across the Americas, said it had reached an agreement to acquire a 21 percent stake in Telekom Austria, increasing its total stake to 23 percent in that country’s market leader, in a transaction that will conclude by the end of the year.

Mr. Slim also owns a stake of about 8 percent in The New York Times Company.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/america-movil-spends-1-59-billion-to-lift-stake-in-kpn/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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