The Telekom Austria Group is considering a spin-off of its eastern European assets as a means of safeguarding itself against pressure to expand from Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu – the company’s most prominent outside investor. Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, WirtschaftsBlatt claims that an asset split would allow the Mexican magnate to inject more capital into the non-Austrian aspects of the business, which is believed to be his key focus. It is thought that majority shareholder, cash-strapped state-backed holding company OIAG, is unable to match Slim’s ambitions, and is prepared to reduce its influence over the eastern European business or potentially exit the non-domestic sector altogether.
In September Telekom announced that Slim officially held 22.76% of its equity – directly and indirectly – after the successful completion of a previously announced stock purchase agreement between Netherlands-based America Movil Europa and RPR Privatstiftung – an investment vehicle operated by Viennese tycoon Ronny Pecik and his Egyptian partner Naguib Sawiris. The deal, which was for a 16.01% stake in Telekom, supplemented an existing 6.75% stake which Slim obtained through various holding companies.