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America Movil Remains Interested in KPN After Reducing Stake

Billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB said it remains interested in a partnership with Dutch phone carrier Royal KPN NV even after cutting its stake in its former takeover target.

America Movil, based in Mexico City, reported a 27.1 percent stake in KPN in its annual report yesterday, down from 29.8 percent in September. The company reduced its holdings to help manage its financial position, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Hajj said today on a conference call.

Slim’s company still wants to work with KPN and plans to keep its stake above 20 percent, the threshold to retain its current shareholder rights, Hajj said. America Movil has invested in KPN and in Vienna-based Telekom Austria AG as part of a plan to expand beyond Latin America, where it’s the largest mobile-phone company.

“I don’t know if we’ll sell more or not -- it depends on markets,” Hajj said today. “We want to be flexible, and we are interested in still developing the relationship with KPN management and with the KPN board.”

The companies are re-establishing commercial partnership agreements that were torn during last year’s unsuccessful bid, the Financial Times reported today. First, KPN will restart the working groups that will bring together the two companies’ business practices, starting with the joint procurement of technology, the newspaper said.

KPN has taken notice of the reduction in America Movil’s stake, said Stefan Simons, a spokesman for The Hague-based company.

America Movil withdrew a bid for KPN in October following disagreements on price and corporate governance. The KPN foundation, an independent group set up to protect the company’s interests, spent much of last year fighting off the takeover attempt.

KPN shares declined 2.3 percent to 2.61 euros at the close in Amsterdam, giving the company a market value of 11 billion euros ($15 billion). America Movil slid 1.3 percent to 14.14 pesos in Mexico City.

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