June 11, 2012 / 10:54 PM / 6 years ago

Mexico's America Movil boosts stake in KPN

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim ramped up his bid for a bigger stake in KPN by purchasing more shares of the Dutch telecommunications company at a lower price than his outstanding tender offer for up to 27.7 percent of the company.

America Movil (AMXL.MX), the jewel of Slim’s empire, said on Monday it entered into four separate transactions to buy an aggregate 6 million ordinary shares of KPN (KPN.AS), bringing its holding in the Dutch firm to 7.3 percent.

“All these transactions were entered into a price in cash of 7.8 euros per ordinary share,” the company said in a statement.

This is America Movil’s second such purchase in less than two weeks. On May 31, the cellphone company boosted its KPN holding to 5.01 percent although it did not mention the price then.

Slim launched an offer last month for up to 27.7 percent of KPN. The offer, which pays 8 euros per share tendered, is valid through June 27, but could be extended.

America Movil declined comment on the new transaction.

Slim was at a United Nations event in Geneva on Monday, where he talked about his family, social programs and even gave tips to a 15-year-old on what to do with his life. He declined comment to Reuters on his European expansion plans.

    With little room left to grow in Latin America, the world’s richest man has now set his eyes on new territories, making the Netherlands and Austria the stepping stones.

    Slim, 72, a savvy investor with a keen eye for troubled companies, put KPN in a difficult situation by giving the company only a few weeks to convince shareholders to reject an offer it believes is too low.

    The Mexican businessman plans to spend around $3.25 billion in his first foray into the Netherlands, where KPN’s performance has struggled over the past year.

    Last week, a top America Movil executive told Reuters that the Mexican company had built up a 4.1 percent stake in Telekom Austria (TELA.VI).

    Additional reporting by Tom Miles; editing by Andre Grenon and David Gregorio

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