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Exclusive: America Movil says has no intention of raising KPN offer

The logo of America Movil is seen on the wall of the reception area in the company's corporate offices in Mexico City February 13, 2013. REU
The logo of America Movil is seen on the wall of the reception area in the company's corporate offices in Mexico City February 13, 2013. REU

By Tomas Sarmiento

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican telecoms firm America Movil on Friday hit out at efforts to make it improve its offer for Dutch peer KPN, saying it had been shown a lack of respect, and had no intention of raising its 7.2 billion-euro ($9.49 billion) bid.

The flagship company of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim was taken aback when a foundation linked to KPN said on Thursday it would block America Movil's bid if it did not improve the offer, Slim's chief spokesman, Arturo Elias, told Reuters.

Elias said there was "no way" America Movil would pay more for KPN and hinted that if Slim did not gain control of the company, it could walk away from KPN altogether.

"We are certainly not prepared to negotiate on price, we are also not prepared to negotiate an arrangement where management put any restrictions on us," he said.

Asked whether the company would retain its 30 percent stake in the event its bid for the rest of KPN fails, Elias said: "That is something we also will have to carefully analyze."

Seeking to expand its business outside its core market of Latin America, America Movil acquired nearly 30 percent of the Dutch company last year, and earlier this month announced it wanted to buy up the rest of KPN.

Elias said America Movil had clearly demonstrated its commitment to investing in the Dutch firm, helping KPN to raise an additional 3 billion euros in capital earlier this year.

But after the KPN foundation's announcement that it had sought control of nearly 50 percent of the Dutch firm to block Slim's takeover, America Movil threatened to withdraw its bid if its plans continued to face such resistance.

The KPN foundation, set up to look after the interests of shareholders, employees, customers, trade unions and "Dutch society more generally," when the former state monopoly was privatized, argued KPN's interests were at risk because America Movil had not consulted with KPN before making its offer.

Elias chafed at that suggestion, however.

"Having called this a hostile takeover, when it wasn't, when on the contrary we've had lots of conversations with (KPN's) management, strikes me as a total lack of respect," he said.

(Writing by Dave Graham and Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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