Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, whose assets include pan-Latin American telecoms giant America Movil (AM), is eyeing a stake in the Telekom Austria Group, Format.at reports. As such, Slim’s representatives are believed to have held initial talks with Telekom’s two largest stakeholders, Austrian government holding company OIAG (28.42%) and RPR Privatstiftung (20.118%), the investment vehicle backed by Viennese tycoon Ronny Pecik and Egyptian telecoms billionaire Naguib Sawiris. Whilst independent confirmation of the talks has not been forthcoming, the report has been given added credibility after Format broke the original story concerning Pecik’s so-called hostile takeover of Telekom Austria in September 2011.
For his part, Pecik has repeatedly declined to comment on his motives in building a significant stake in Telekom, but his grand plan will come under closer scrutiny next week when he and Sawiris are scheduled to participate in talks centred on the duo assuming seats on the company’s expanded supervisory board. On the other hand, Format cites Slim as a potential ‘white knight’ investor for Telekom, and the Mexican could help to fend off Pecik’s sustained advances.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom reacted swiftly to rebut a surprise move by AM to increase its stake in the company, by saying its EUR3.2 billion (USD4.2 billion) offer substantially undervalued the company. The Mexican powerhouse sought to increase its existing stake in KPN from 4.8% to 28%.