América Móvil still interested in KPN

After warning recently that it could quit the deal, América Móvil said now it remains in discussions with KPN about potentially acquiring the company.

The KPN foundation late last month exercised an option to buy certain shares that will give it almost 50 per cent of KPN's voting stock and enable it to almost entirely block América Móvil's offer to acquire the Dutch operator. América Móvil, owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, warned at the time that the foundation's actions could scrap the transaction between the two companies.

However, both América Móvil and KPN confirmed that talks between the two are ongoing, even after the foundation's actions.

"These discussions are on financial and nonfinancial matters related to the intended offer including price and terms and conditions, taking into consideration the best interests of all KPN's shareholders and other stakeholders," KPN said in a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Indeed, the América Móvil/KPN tie-up has already crossed one hurdle: América Móvil gave the green light to KPN's sale of its German E-Plus unit to Telefónica, Slim's Latin American rival.

However, based on its statements, Slim's América Móvil appears unwilling to increase its bid for KPN above the current 7.2 billion ($9.6 billion) offer.

KPN investors appeared relieved that Slim continues to maintain an interest in the operator; KPN's shares rose slightly on news of continued talks between the two companies. However, América Móvil's stock consequently fell, indicating the company's investors are concerns about Slim's plans to expand in the cutthroat and highly regulated European market.

Julio Zetina, an analyst with Vector Casa de Bolsa, told Reuters that the América Móvil-\/KPN deal "carries high execution risk" for Carlos Slim. Zetina also pointed out that the continuing negotiations are between América Móvil and KPN and not América Móvil and the foundation.

América Móvil has been KPN 's largest minority shareholder since June 2012, holding just under 30 per cent of the company. It also holds around 24 per cent of Telekom Austria.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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