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Summary:

Carlos Slim’s carrier giant is trying to break out of the Americas. Taking a 30 percent stake in KPN was a start, but now it wants to get serious by slurping up the rest.

Bill Gates and Carlos Slim

Carlos Slim’s América Móvil already owns a 29.77 percent stake in Dutch telecommunications firm KPN, but now wants to buy the rest.

In a statement on Friday, Mexico-based América Móvil – the world’s fifth-largest mobile carrier group — said it is trying to expand its operations beyond the Americas. Just over a week ago, it scrapped an agreement which limited its holdings to under 30 percent; now it’s preparing to offer €2.40 ($3.21) per share (representing a 35.4 percent premium) for all the remaining shares in KPN.

In its own statement, KPN said its board “will carefully consider” the offer, about which it said it had been informed in advance.

The lever behind this move was KPN’s proposed sale of its German carrier, E-Plus, to Spain’s Telefónica, one of América Móvil’s key rivals in Latin America. That proposal, which allowed América Móvil to cancel its stake-limiting arrangement, would see Telefónica pay €1.3 billion for 7.3 percent of KPN, while KPN would also get a 17.6 stake in Telefónica.

KPN said on Friday that it would soon hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the E-Plus sale. América Móvil, which insists on having majority voting rights if it takes over the rest of KPN, said in its statement on Friday that it was “carefully evaluating the merits” of the E-Plus sale and would “make a final determination in relation to the exercise of its voting rights” at that meeting.

If all goes to plan, América Móvil’s formal offer for KPN’s outstanding shares will be made in September.

  1. Sad, sad situation; Slim has “slurped” up wireless companies throughout the Americas on the backs of his home country’s subscribers.
    Mexico has the highest cellular rates and lowest penetration among the OECD. Mexico’s fixed line communications, also controlled by Slim have similar penetration and pricing ratings.
    The OECD estimates that Slim’s abuse of the Mexican telecom market reduces Mexico’s total GDP by 1.8% a year.

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