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América Móvil takes stake in KPN to 23%

Carlos Slim needs to dispose of some assets

Latin American operator group América Móvil has acquired yet more shares in Dutch operator KPN, taking its stake in the company to 23.43 per cent.

The Mexico-based operator, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, announced its intention to take its stake up to 28 per cent in May, but KPN told its shareholders not to accept the unsolicited $3.25bn bid for shares, which valued each share at €8, claiming that the offer was too low. However, the LatAm operator eventually bought its shares at an average of just over €7.50.

América Móvil also recently increased its presence in Europe by acquiring a 21 per cent stake in Telekom Austria, taking its stake in the Austrian firm to approximately 23 per cent in total.

The interest of the Mexican giant in investing in KPN comes at a time when European operators are struggling, according to Daniele Tricarico, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

“In recent months, we have seen emerging players investing in European markets, such as Russian operator Vimpelcom acquiring Italian assets, and Egyptian magnate Naguib Sawiris acquiring stakes in Telekom Austria. Like many of its European peers, KPN is a troubled company which makes it a good acquisition target for a buyer looking to turn around its business,” he said.

“From a competitive standpoint, America Movil’s biggest rival Telefonica already benefits from a presence in a variety of diverse markets, including its home market Spain, the UK, Germany and other European markets as well as Latin America. By investing in KPN, America Movil would go head to head with Telefonica beyond Latin America and into Europe. As European economies are struggling, Latin America remains the major strategic focus for both groups, but it is important for America Movil to build a presence beyond its core markets.”


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