Slim closes in on pact to secure Telekom Austria

martes 25 de febrero de 2014 16:03 GYT

By Angelika Gruber and Georgina Prodhan

VIENNA (Reuters) - Carlos Slim's America Movil and the Austrian government are moving towards a deal to pool their stakes in Telekom Austria, which would lead to a takeover offer and mark a further step in the Mexican tycoon's expansion in Europe.

Austria's economy minister said on Tuesday talks about creating a shareholder pact, which both parties said had been informal so far, could wrap up within weeks.

American Movil, which faces increased regulation and competition in Latin America and is looking to expand into a recovering European economy, said on Monday it could move to formal talks with Austria.

An alliance would hold 55 percent of Telekom Austria - 28 percent from state holding company OIAG and 27 percent from America Movil - obliging it to make a takeover offer under Austrian law.

Telekom Austria shares closed up 1.65 percent, valuing the whole business at more than 3.1 billion euros ($4.3 billion). The stock earlier touched 7.31 euros, the highest since July 2012, two months after Slim made his first decisive move on the company by agreeing to buy 21 percent.

Slim's investments in a mature and highly competitive European telecoms market have surprised analysts and are currently loss-making, though some think they could be a canny bet on growth picking up and regulation easing.

The Mexican bought most of his current stake in Telekom Austria at 9.50 euros a share.

Analysts expect he will become the largest shareholder following any takeover offer for Telekom Austria, but he is eager to secure a friendly deal after his attempt to buy Dutch telecoms group KPN last year was blocked by a KPN foundation that viewed his bid as hostile.   Continuación...