Mexico's Slim gains Europe foothold with Austrian Telekom deal

Thursday 24 April 2014 12.51
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim secures a deal with Telekom Austria.
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim secures a deal with Telekom Austria.

Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim today looked to have at last secured a firm European foothold with a deal giving him effective control of Telekom Austria.

The deal comes six months after he failed to acquire the Dutch KPN.

Mr Slim's America Movil (AMX) will combine its 26.8% stake in Telekom Austria with the 28.4% owned by the Austrian state.

Pending regulatory approval, this will clear the way for AMX to make a public offer for all outstanding shares of Telekom Austria at €7.15 per share, AMX and Telekom Austria said in a joint statement.

AMX will then obtain "operational responsibilities" in Telekom Austria, which has some 20 million mobile customers spread across Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.

Both AMX and the Austrian government's holding company OeIAG will also support a capital increase of €1 billion, the statement said.

AMX chief executive Daniel Hajj said the deal would help "better position Telekom Austria as a more relevant player in the European telecommunication markets".

In October Mr Slim, one of the world's richest men, was forced to abandon a multi-billion-euro hostile takeover bid for KPN, one of the largest fixed and mobile operators in The Netherlands and the third-biggest in Germany and Belgium.

Telekom Austria shares soared this morning, reaching €7.10, an increase of 6.8%. Analysts at Berenberg Bank called Mr Slim's bid price "generous".