Slim deal for Telekom Austria set for agreement
By Georgina Prodhan
VIENNA, April 17 (Reuters) - An agreement between Carlos Slim's America Movil and the Austrian government to take joint ownership of Telekom Austria is likely to be agreed next week despite a public war of words that broke out on Friday.
The government holding company OIAG will decide on Wednesday whether to pool its 28 percent stake in Telekom Austria with Slim's 26 percent, triggering a joint takeover offer and potentially handing Slim control of the company.
The two parties are thrashing out final details of a syndicate agreement, which will ensure the company's headquarters remain in Austria and that no major decisions are taken without the approval of the government.
In return, Slim - who failed in a takeover attempt of Dutch KPN last year - could become Telekom Austria's biggest shareholder through a rights issue, allowing him to consolidate the company's results as he seeks growth outside Latin America.
Slim has said he will invest about 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in Telekom Austria if the deal goes through. Austria, grappling with huge and unpopular subsidies for failed bank Hypo Alpe Adria, is strapped for cash.
The influential head of Vienna's Chamber of Labour has spoken out against the planned syndicate deal, arguing that Austria should have the political will to put its own money into its key industries.
Still, the OIAG's supervisory board, which will make the decision, has only five labour representatives out of 15 members - the rest are capital markets representatives - meaning chances are slim that the deal will be rejected.
A source familiar with their thinking said the labour representatives had not yet decided whether to vote against the deal or abstain, and that the decision would be taken after they had seen the final syndicate agreement on Tuesday. Continuación...