Carlos Slim’s America Movil (AM) telecoms group has abandoned its multi-billion euro takeover bid for Netherlands’ incumbent KPN Telecom (aka Royal KPN), after an independent foundation committed to the protection of KPN shareholders’ interests stepped in to block him in August. The Mexican group announced in a statement that ‘America Movil will not launch the intended offer’, effectively bringing the curtain down on its attempt to gain a significant foothold in the European telecoms market.
AM had been planning a hostile takeover bid – offering EUR2.40 (USD3.20) per share – to take control of KPN, which is one of the Netherlands’ biggest telcos and the third largest in Germany and Belgium. However, in late-August its EUR7.2 billion takeover was thwarted when the independent group Foundation Preference Shares B KPN exercised an option to give itself about 50% of voting stock, effectively halving AM’s 29.77% holding. In the intervening period, AM says it has ‘carefully reviewed the options available to it in relation to the exercise of the call option by the foundation’, and it ‘now concludes, in view of the foundation’s position and the discussions with KPN, that [the] aim to acquire more than 50% of the voting rights in KPN … will not be met by making the intended offer.’ For its part, the foundation has argued that AM pursued what it called ‘a one-sided action by a bid that has one condition: to take control of KPN’, and accused the Mexican group of failing to consult properly on its intentions while simultaneously attempting to steer a merger with KPN prior to launching a formal bid. AM denies this charge.