Acquisition-hungry Slim bulks up European assets through Telekom Austria deal

15 Jun 2012

America Movil (AM), the pan-Latin American telecoms giant owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has agreed to buy a 21% stake in the Telekom Austria Group from Viennese businessman Ronny Pecik and his Egyptian partner, Naguib Sawiris, the company has announced. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, AM has acquired approximately 5% of the shares in Telekom Austria and will buy an additional 16% stake upon receipt of certain governmental approvals and other authorisations customary in this type of transaction; the acquisition of this additional stake is expected to close during 2012.

A company statement reads: ‘This acquisition positions AM as a long-term strategic partner of Telekom Austria. It is part of AM’s geographic diversification strategy and provides an attractive presence in Central and Eastern Europe. AM expects to develop a constructive relationship with Telekom Austria’s stakeholders, and is confident about the company’s overall potential for development. Ronny Pecik is expected to continue to serve as vice-chairman of the Supervisory Board, and to support the future development of Telekom Austria’.

Although the financial details of the transaction have not yet been disclosed, Bloomberg reports that, based on yesterday’s closing share price, a 21% stake in Telekom Austria would be worth around USD945 million. For his part, Pecik has described AM as ‘a strong shareholder for a secure and stable future’, whilst Sawiris, who last month denied that he had entered into partnership with Pecik ‘to buy and sell shares’, conceded that he had made a ‘nice profit’ from the deal with AM. ‘Everyone is happy’, the Egyptian telecoms tycoon added.

AM’s acquistion forms part of the group’s strategy to establish strategic footholds in Europe. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database reports that Slim has also offered to boost its stake in former Dutch phone monopoly Royal KPN to 27.7%.

Austria, A1 Telekom Austria Group, America Movil (AM)