MEXICO CITY--America Movil SAB (AMX, AMX.MX), which is seeking to build a significant presence in Europe with minority stakes in several phone companies, said Thursday it has acquired additional shares of Royal KPN NV (KPN.AE) and now owns 20.9% of the Dutch telephone company.
The Mexican telecommunications company, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, last month launched an offer to raise its stake in KPN to about 28%, an offer that KPN management has opposed, saying it undervalues the company.
In addition to the stake in KPN, America Movil has agreed to buy 21% of Austrian concern Telekom Austria (TKA.VI TKAGY) from investor Ronny Pecik, with plans to raise its stake to about 23%.
America Movil hopes to use the minority stakes in these firms to get a foothold in Europe and learn about its markets as it extends its reach from the Americas, where it operates in 18 countries with 246 million wireless subscribers, making it Latin America's largest mobile operator.
Earlier Thursday, KPN put its Belgium operations up for sale and reiterated its recommendation to shareholders not to accept a partial takeover by America Movil.
The official announcement by KPN to divest itself of its Base mobile phone business in Belgium comes just a day after talks between KPN and Telefonica SA (TEF) on a German market consolidation collapsed. KPN intended to sell its German mobile provider E-Plus to Telefonica to unlock shareholder value and to prevent shareholders from accepting the offer from America Movil.
Telefonica competes with America Movil in Mexico and Latin America.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 21, 2012 14:05 ET (18:05 GMT)
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