-- America Movil offers EUR8/share to raise KPN stake to as much as 28%.
-- Says offer 23.5% above KPN's Monday closing price.
-- First significant investment in Europe for leading Latin America telecommunications company.
(Adds details and background throughout, America Movil's closing share price in the last paragraph.)
By Anthony Harrup
Mexican telecommunications heavyweight America Movil SAB (AMX) said Monday it plans to raise its stake in Dutch telecommunications operator Koninklijke KPN NV, or Royal KPN (KPN), in what will be its first significant investment in Europe as it seeks increased geographic diversification.
In a filing with the Mexican stock exchange, America Movil said it will offer EUR8($10.44) per share in cash to raise its stake in KPN to as much as 28% from the current 4.8%.
America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is Latin America's largest wireless service provider, with 246 million mobile subscribers in 18 countries.
The company said the offer price represents a premium of around 23.5% to KPN's Monday closing price. America Movil said it currently owns 68.3 million KPN shares, which would mean it could buy up to an additional 330 million shares valued at EUR2.64 billion.
KPN is a leading Dutch provider of fixed-line and wireless services, including phone, Internet and television. It has operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain. The company reported 2011 sales of EUR13.2 billion.
America Movil reported sales last year of 665.2 billion Mexican pesos ($51 billion).
America Movil said it has been evaluating the expansion of its operations to other regions outside the Americas, since geographic diversification has given the company stability in its cash flow and profitability.
The offer would give it a significant stake in a company with a "relevant position in European markets," America Movil said, adding that it hopes to build and develop "a lasting relationship" with KPN management and shareholders.
The Mexican company said it would pay for the increased stake with existing cash.
America Movil L shares traded on the Mexican stock exchange closed 4.9% higher Monday at MXN18.66, leading a rally in the local market that carried the benchmark IPC index to a record-high close.
-By Anthony Harrup, Dow Jones Newswires; (5255) 5980 5176, email@example.com