Mexican telco América Móvil has announced plans for a takeover bid for KPN at €2.40 per share.
América Móvil — owned by multibillionaire Carlos Slim — has a 29.77 percent stake in the Dutch operator and hopes to gain majority control with the offer with the €7.2bn bid. The offer is 20 percent higher than the closing price of the KPN share on Friday and 35.4 percent higher than the average share price of KPN over the past days of trading, according to the company.
América Móvil's offer was not entirely unexpected.
Earlier this year, América Móvil made a pact with KPN which effectively prevented the Mexican telco from taking its stake beyond the 30 percent level.
In what was considered a ceasefire in the power struggle between KPN and América Móvil, that pact came to an end last week. It's thought the decision to end the agreement was spurred by KPN's move to sell its German subsidiary E-Plus to the German branch of Telefonica — a sale that a KPN takeover could now prevent.
However, according to América Móvil, the reason for the takeover is the bid is to "facilitate greater operational cooperation and coordination between the two companies, to exploit all areas for potential partnerships and to intensify the realisation of synergy potential for both companies. It aims to support to a greater extent KPN's plans in a rapidly changing environment in Europe so that both companies benefit from their respective experiences in the sector."
'Strategic options considered'
KPN has stated that the shareholders meeting related to the sale of E-Plus is still scheduled to take place somewhere in the next couple of weeks, regardless of the recent developments — a meeting during which América Móvil will give its opinion on the proposed sale.
Slim said in a statement that he hopes for cooperation from the management of KPN, in what he hopes will be a friendly takeover. In response, KPN issued a press release, stating that "the executive board and supervisory board of KPN had been informed of this bid in advance and will take the offer into careful consideration... and will investigate all strategic options available to KPN".
If Slim were to be successful in his attempt to launch a full takeover of KPN with América Móvil, he would significantly reinforce his position in the European telecom sector in which he already has a 25 percent stake in Telekom Austria. According to Reuters, América Móvil is also expected to launch a takeover bid for the Austrian incumbent.