The world's richest man is ready to make peace. After shocking the telecoms industry with a surprise bid for Dutch cell phone company KPN (AMS:KPN), which led to a fight with Spanish phone company Telefónica (MCE:TEF), Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu announced on Monday that he is willing to accept the participation of Spanish investors in his new venture.
The Mexican tycoon, whose company América Móvil (NYSE:AMX) already owned a third of KPN, wants to take the remaining 70.23 percent, for which he has offered $9.6 billion. This is the most significant move Slim -- who has a net worth of $73 billion according to the 2013 Forbes rankings -- has made to reach the European market.
Problems arose when Telefónica, América Móvil’s biggest competitor, pointed out that it had already agreed with KPN to buy E-Plus, its German sister company, for $6.6 billion plus 17.6 percent of Telefónica Deutschand, which would be then merged with E-Plus. If Carlos Slim’s plans were to be successful, the future of Telefónica’s offer might be in jeopardy.
In a turn of events, América Móvil announced on Monday that it will support the buying of E-Plus by Telefónica, after the Spanish company upped its offer by a 6.4 percent.
Telefónica’s basic bid stays the same: the Spanish company will buy the totality of E-Plus from KPN, for 3.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion) and 24.9 percent of the stocks of the company resulting from the E-Plus and Telefónica Deutschland merger. The changes pertain to the second phase of the bid, when Telefónica will buy from KPN, for 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion), the 4.4 percent of the merged company, reaching 62.1 percent. KPN, then, will keep 20.5 percent of the merged company, as opposed to the 17.6 percent offered in the original bid.
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The total cost for Telefónica will be 4.4 billion euros, or $55.3 billion.
This settles the controversy that arose in early August, when Slim said that América Móvil was ready to buy the totality of KPN, including E-Plus.