America Movil (AMX), the wireless carrier group controlled by Mexican Carlos Slim, May 8 offered about 8 euros per share to increase its stake in the Netherlands-based telecom company KPN NV – a price that is about 23.5% above KPN’s Monday closing price.
The partial tender offered would increase America Movil’s share in KPN from 4.8% to approximately 28%. However, KPN responded that the offer was too low and substantially undervalues the company. In a statement, the Dutch company said it would seek further clarification as to America Movil’s intentions. In the meantime, KPN will explore all strategic options.
By making a tender offer for KPN, America Movil is looking to expand its base in the European mobile market. Its biggest rival, Telefonica, already benefits from a presence in a variety of diverse markets, including its home market Spain, UK, Germany, and other European markets, plus Latin America.
“America Movil’s intention to take over a 28% stake in Dutch operator KPN is an indication of two important developments in the changing global telecoms sector,” Informa Telecoms & Media’s Daniele Tricarico posted in his blog.
“While some European operators are still expanding internationally, the balance of power in the global market is shifting away from old European players to emerging telecoms giants,” Tricarico wrote. “At the same time, new global players from the emerging markets are looking to diversify their presence with the main objective of bringing in the know-how and experience of operators from the mature markets.”
In the opinion of Macquarie Capital, AMX’s minority stake in KPN represents a financial rather than a strategic investment. “Slim is investing in a dividend yield of 11.25%, which we expect to fall to 7% based on the offer price and Macquarie’s estimates. While this may yet turn out to be a savvy financial investment, we would have preferred AMX to focus its merger and acquisition strategy on its domain of expertise via additional controlling stakes in Latin America wireless and pay-TV.”