America Movil is looking to take control of Telekom Austria by reaching an accord with the operator’s state-owned shareholder, according to a report in Austrian magazine News.
The report said the Latin America operator group is looking to partner with Austrian state holding company OIAG to create a controlling syndicate via an accord.
America Movil currently holds a 27 per cent stake in the Austrian market leader, while OIAG holds 28 per cent. The government is keen not to let its shareholding fall below a blocking stake of 25 per cent, which gives it input into key decisions at the operator.
A draft accord outlines a deal in which America Movil would agree to contribute €750 million via a share issue to drive expansion and cut debt. It would also see the stakes of the two big shareholders pooled for 10 years with an option to extend by a further five years.
The pact would mean the partner companies would have to vote as one on major company issues, allowing OIAG to have a say even if America Movil raises its stake in the operator.
Under Austrian law, any shareholder with a stake of 30 per cent or more must make an offer for remaining shares.
A representative from OIAG told News that a final decision has not been reached and that no solid negotiations having taken place.
Earlier this month, Rudolf Kemler, the head OIAG and Telekom Austria chairman, said the Austrian government would be content for America Movil to take a majority stake in Telekom Austria.
America Movil has been looking to expand its foothold in the European market for some time by increasing its stakes in Telekom Austria and Dutch group KPN.
A €7.2 billion takeover bid for KPN was effectively blocked in October by the KPN Foundation, the independent body set up to safeguard the wider interests of the Dutch company.
The Carlos Slim-controlled group has stated that it does not plan a hostile takeover bid for Telekom Austria.