A few weeks after exiting the shareholder relationship with KPN that had maintained the past year’s status quo, America Movil and Carlos Slim have made their move and bid for the whole of the Dutch incumbent. For the 70% they don’t already own, America Movil is offering €2.40 per share or some €7.2B, which adds a 20% or so premium onto the stock price as of yesterday’s close.
KPN has simply acknowledged the bid and said they would consider it, but it was just last year when they protested that Slim’s initial advances up in the €7-8 per share range were too low to take such a big stake. The market has been brutal for KPN since then, so the question is whether the board has yet come to a more realistic view of the company’s valuation or not.
Of course the big question here is what will happen to the deal that precipitated this offer, the deal with Telefonica for the German mobile unit E-Plus. America Movil has supposedly not been happy with the price, and the speculation had been that they might have to buy KPN outright if they really wanted to stop it. So far America Movil isn’t showing those cards, but it also isn’t exactly praising the deal either and says only that it hasn’t decided how to vote its shares.
The Latin American giant has been working hard to gain entrypoints into the European market, and this would be the first time they’d be taking full control of a European incumbent. European consolidation has generally been a European game, and having a Mexican billionaire at the table has made more than a few uncomfortable about control from another continent. I’ll be very interested to see how the obvious awkwardness that we saw over Slim’s move on the first 30% blossoms with this bid for the other 70%.
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