AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - European telecoms and cable firm Altice has no plans to bid for the 21 percent stake in Dutch rival KPN owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil, Altice’s chief executive was quoted as saying by a Dutch newspaper on Saturday.
Dexter Goei made the comments after America Movil said in its half-year results on Friday that its stake in the Dutch fixed-line and mobile operator was up for sale.
“We’re not interested,” Goei told De Telegraaf newspaper. “We are very focused on the integration of (France’s) SFT and Portugal Telecom and the closing of the takeover of Suddenlink from America.”
Controlled by Franco-Israeli billionaire Patrick Drahi, Altice has been on a buying spree for the past 18 months that has resulted so far in the purchase of four companies and a bid for smaller French rival Bouygues Telecom, which was rejected.
Industry observers say that KPN, the former Dutch state telecommunications monopoly and one of Europe’s smaller telecoms players, is undercapitalized and ripe for a takeover.
America Movil’s bid for KPN three years ago was thwarted by a shareholding foundation — common among Dutch corporates designed to protect them from hostile takeovers. Any hostile approach now could still face the same obstacle.
Goei had told the same newspaper in June that Altice would invest far more than KPN if it owned the company, although he said at the time the two companies were not in talks.
Luxembourg-based Altice plans to restructure itself into a Dutch-registered and listed holding company, Altice NV, which will have two classes of voting shares so that it can make more share-based acquisitions without jeopardizing Drahi’s control.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt, editing by Louise Heavens