América Móvil to own over half of Telekom Austria

América Móvil revealed it will own 50.8 per cent of Telekom Austria following the completion of its offer for shares in the Austrian operator that it does not already own.

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Hannes Ametsreiter, Telekom Austria CEO

The Mexican giant said its subsidiary Carso Telecom received 103,978,115 shares representing approximately 23.47 per cent of the share capital of Telekom Austria. This means that the public tender offer will cost the Carlos Slim-owned company about €743 million ($1.01 billion).

The offer of €7.15 per share, which became mandatory at the end of June, expired on July 10. However, the company will extend its offer for three more months. Shareholders who have already accepted will get their payment by July 24.

The offer became mandatory after the shareholder agreement between América Móvil and Austrian state holding company ÖIAG came into force. In future, the syndicate will hold 79.2 per cent of Telekom Austria including Austria's 28.4 per cent share.

The move to bolster his assets in Europe comes days after Slim agreed to reduce his shareholdings in Mexico in order to appease regulators there. Now, América Móvil will have an important beachhead from which to expand its business activities on a new continent. This will be particularly satisfying for Slim after the failure of his previous efforts to buy KPN in the Netherlands.

Indeed, Slim told Reuters that he believed the Central and Eastern European region had "plenty of mileage left in it."

Telekom Austria already has plenty of assets outside its domestic market: it owns a mix of fixed and mobile operations in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. As of December 31, 2013, it had about 2.6 million fixed-line subscribers, 20.1 million wireless subscribers and revenues of €4.1 billion.

More recently, the Austrian operator unveiled new advancements within its portfolio of companies with the acquisition of Macedonian cable operator blizoo to further its convergence strategy, the launch of LTE services in Macedonia and the creation of a converged player in Liechtenstein.

On a less positive note, Telekom Austria was also recently forced to make a whopping €400 million writedown in Bulgaria that forced CEO Hannes Ametsreiter to defend his position.

For more:
- see the América Móvil statement (not for release in the U.S.)
- see this Reuters article

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