Austrian state holding company ÖIAG has been given the go ahead to negotiate a shareholder agreement with América Móvil for Telekom Austria, in a move that could see the Carlos Slim-owned company gain more influence over the European operator.
"The supervisory board granted management a negotiating mandate for final negotiations of a syndicate contract," ÖIAG stated on Friday, after a meeting in which the board was updated on the status of talks.
ÖIAG added that it was committed to maintaining Telekom Austria's headquarters in Austria and ensuring that ÖIAG maintains a blocking minority of at least 25 per plus one share, even after any potential capital increase.
No timetable has been provided beyond a statement that further talks are planned between ÖIAG and América Móvil in the coming weeks.
ÖIAG currently owns 28.42 per cent of Telekom Austria and América Móvil 26.84 per cent, meaning that they would hold a majority stake in the company once their stakes are pooled. This would trigger a mandatory offer for the remainder of Telekom Austria shares, Reuters noted, as the combined stake would be above the 30 per cent threshold.
It has not yet been revealed how this mandatory offer would be handled.
América Móvil CEO Daniel Hajj said in February that his company has big plans for its stake in Telekom Austria and is not out to make a fast buck in Europe. The CEO also said he had been irritated by América Móvil's failure to buy a majority stake in Dutch operator KPN because of resistance from a KPN foundation.
Rudolf Kemler, the head of ÖIAG and also supervisory board chairman of Telekom Austria, had previously told Austrian state radio ORF that the Austrian government is ready to let América Móvil become the biggest investor in the telecoms operator, or even own a majority stake.
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