The Mexican telecommunications group America Movil, which is owned by the world’s richest man Carlos Slim, wants to takeover Dutch KPN.
It has offered 7.2bn euros for the 70% of KPN it does not already own.
The bid is widely seen as a challenge to last month’s offer from Telefonica for KPN’s German arm E-Plus. E-Plus has a 15% stake in the German mobile market. The bid for it was backed by KPN’s management.
Movil’s 2.40 euros-a-share offer is 20% above Thursday’s closing share price. It is much lower than the 8 euros per share that Slim paid in May last year for his original stake. But it is considerably higher than the 1.60 euros at which the shares were trading in July before Telefonica announced its bid.
A KPN spokesman said the company is studying America Movil’s offer. KPN’s shares have been falling sharply in recent years as the introduction of smartphones has eaten into its margins in the Netherlands, where it has a 40% share of the market.
The company has taken on a lot of debt as a result of paying more than expected to the Dutch government in an auction of fourth generation mobile phone licenses.
Slim has topped the Forbes list of the world’s richest people for the past four years, with an estimated wealth of $73bn.
America Movil, the Latin America mobile phone operator, is his most valuable asset, but he also has industrial, mining, financial, retail and real estate assets.
Buying the KPN stake was America Movil’s first venture into Europe. It has since bought a 24% stake in Telekom Austria.