Telekom Austria proves slippery target for Slim
By Georgina Prodhan and Angelika Gruber
VIENNA (Reuters) - Tycoon Carlos Slim stumbled in his bid for control of Telekom Austria (TELA.VI: Cotización) on Wednesday, as a meeting designed to rubber-stamp a co-ownership deal with the Austrian government was boycotted by labor representatives unhappy with the proposal.
The deal is important for Slim because it could finally allow him to begin consolidating the fruits of a European adventure, begun in 2012 with initial investments of over $1 billion in Telekom Austria and $3.4 billion in Dutch group KPN
It was unclear if the meeting of the supervisory board of Austrian state holding company OIAG had the necessary quorum of seven to take a vote on the proposed deal, as at least half of the 14 board members stayed away from the meeting, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Shares in Telekom Austria, which have been buoyed by takeover speculation since Slim's America Movil (AMXL.MX: Cotización) first acquired a large stake in the company two years ago, slumped almost 5 percent as prospects faded of an imminent offer for the rest of the company.
The agreement envisaged pooling the 28.4 percent held by the OIAG with the 26.4 percent of America Movil in a syndicate where both parties would have to vote in unison on major issues, triggering a joint takeover offer.
The five labor representatives on the OIAG board boycotted the meeting, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. One said the chairman was also absent, and the offices of two other board members said they were out of the country.
An OIAG spokesman declined to say how many board members were in attendance on Wednesday or to confirm whether the chairman, Peter Mitterbauer, was present. Continuación...