KPN signalled a thawing of its relationship with minority shareholder América Móvil, as the Mexican group also indicated it is still interested in the Dutch operator despite lowering its stake this week from 29.8 per cent to 27.1 per cent.
Relations between the two companies turned sour after the Carlos Slim-owned group was thwarted in its efforts to buy KPN last year due to resistance from an independent foundation. However, KPN CEO Eelco Blok told the Financial Times that the two companies are now on better terms, although he admitted the relationship had become more difficult following the failed takeover attempt.
"After the withdrawal of América Móvil, the relationship was not really good but today we have again a good relationship. Not as good as it was before the offer, but the América Móvil board representatives are participating in a constructive manner," Blok told the FT.
KPN is now in the process of re-establishing commercial partnership agreements that were cancelled after the failed takeover attempt.
Nonetheless, Reuters noted that although América Móvil has said it is still interested in KPN, it is still unsure whether or not it will sell more shares in the Dutch company.
"We don't know if we're going to sell more or not, it depends a lot on what's happening on the markets," América Móvil CEO Daniel Hajj told Reuters. Hajj added that it would need to maintain a stake of more than 20 per cent to continue working with the company.
Meanwhile Blok also told the FT he is confident that the European Commission will approve KPN's plan to sell E-Plus to Telefónica Deutschland, although he is not yet sure what concessions will be required to secure the deal.
Like many leading telecoms executives, Blok believes that consolidation is now essential in Europe and thinks attitudes towards M&A's are softening at the Commission.
"Germany will be the turning point," he told the FT. "Consolidation really needs to happen to do the necessary investments in both in fixed and mobile. The first wave will be in-country mobile consolation and then later wider-scale consolidation; in a few years' time there could be [just] three, or four or five big groups in Europe."
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