When America Movil and its billionaire protagonist, Carlos Slim, bid for the rest of KPN, it was not yet clear whether they approved of the E-Plus deal or not. After all, the common wisdom was that E-Plus and its German mobile presence was a big part of why Slim took that 29%+ stake in KPN in the first place. But they reserved judgement on the deal even while putting in place the financing to finish the KPN deal.
But of course the real moves were behind the curtain, and today we saw what it was they were up to. Telefonica has agreed to give KPN a bigger stake in the combined operations of E-Plus and Telefonica Deutschland. Under the modified deal, they’ll have 20.5% of the new company, up from 17.6%, and KPN says this raises the total transaction value from €8.10B to €8.55B. Telefonica retains an option to raise its ownership to 65% later on, but would need to pay a tidy sum of €510M for it.
That was enough to gain America Movil’s public support for the E-Plus deal. So assuming that any opposition to their own purchase of KPN is overcome, that means America Movil would also become a 20.5% owner of the #3 player in the German mobile market, mirroring its position over at Telekom Austria. And also, of course, full control over the Dutch incumbent itself and its other assets.
But none of this is written in stone yet, there may yet be more hurdles over the next month or two for either or both deals — regulatory concerns, shareholder opposition, etc. And Carlos Slim certainly may not be done yet either, as the European M&A market is still looking quite unresolved.
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