KPN tells shareholders to reject Slim bid as it eyes Chinese and Middle Eastern investment
Dutch incumbent KPN has told its shareholders not to accept the unsolicited $3.25bn bid for shares from Mexican operator group América Móvil, claiming that the offer is too low. The operator labelled the bid, which values each share at €8, as “opportunistic” and said that it does not reflect full potential value of the firm.
KPN also warned that, by bidding for a 27.7 per cent stake, América Móvil, bankrolled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is deliberately avoiding the obligation to bid for all outstanding shares, which it would be required to do if it were to bid for 30 per cent or more. The operator added that in doing so, América Móvil’s offer would potentially deter other third parties from making an offer for the whole of KPN in the future.
KPN said it is exploring strategic options to unlock better value for shareholders and said that it is currently reviewing options with its German carrier E-Plus. The Dutch operator has already launched a comprehensive review of strategic options for its mobile operations in Belgium, and according to local reports, is also looking to attract investment from China and the Middle East.
According to Dutch paper Het Financieele Dagblad, KPN’s chief financial officer Eric Hageman spoke to Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp earlier this year, and has also been talking to investors in the US, Europe and China.