Former Dutch monopoly operator KPN Telecom (or Royal KPN) has confirmed it is conducting what it terms ‘continuous constructive discussions’ with America Movil (AM) concerning the latter’s EUR7.2 billion (USD9.6 billion) takeover bid of the company. In a statement, the chairman of KPN’s supervisory board, Jos Streppel, said: ‘In this process we are carefully considering and weighing the interests of our shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders on financial and non-financial matters including safeguarding the vital role of KPN in Dutch society,’ adding ‘at this stage the outcome of these discussions is not clear’.
Last month, Mexico-based AM’s bid seemed to have hit an obstacle after an independent foundation committed to the protection of KPN shareholders’ interests stepped in to block Carlos Slim’s planned takeover. Slim’s group currently controls almost 30% of KPN’s stock and is looking to take a majority holding, but in a surprise move, the foundation – which was established to protect key national infrastructure when the former state monopoly was being privatised – exercised an option to purchase certain shares that would increase its KPN voting stock to almost 50%. In a statement at the time, the foundation said it had intervened ‘in order to safeguard the interests of KPN and its stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, trade unions and Dutch society more generally’. The little known foundation is arguing that these interests are being jeopardised by AM, which has failed to consult with it ahead of making its move for KPN. In response, AM released a statement saying that whilst it remained committed to its takeover bid, it would withdraw it if a foundation maintains its current stance.