Carlos Slim increases stake in Telekom Austria

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has increased his stake in Telekom Austria, from 51 percent to 59.7 percent, he informed the Mexican stock exchange on Monday.

Carlos Slim increases stake in Telekom Austria
Carlos Slim. Photo: APA (Archiv/epa)

His company, America Movil, has controlled Austria's largest telecommunications company since July.  

The second largest shareholder remains Austria's state holding company ÖIAG, which retains its 28.4 percent stake.  

Slim offered other shareholders 7.15 per share, and extended the deadline for the offer up to Thursday of last week.

The largest telecommunications company in Latin America, America Movil plans to use Telekom Austria as a base to grow into Eastern Europe.

Telekom Austria plans this year to make a capital increase in order to finance the expansion, among other activities.  

The Austrian company sustained significant losses in the first half of this year.

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US government blocks T-Mobile sale

Deutsche Telekom has suffered a major blow at the hands of the US Justice Department, which could block the sale of the German telecom giant's US subsidiary T-Mobile to the corporation AT&T.

US government blocks T-Mobile sale
Photo: DPA

The US government justified the move Wednesday on the grounds that the $39-billion deal would “substantially” reduce competition in the mobile phone network market. Deutsche Telekom’s shares fell by 7.6 percent when the news broke.

Telekom faces serious problems if the deal falls through. Company boss René Obermann would be forced to look for a new buyer in the US, and is unlikely to get such a high price again.

Deutsche Telekom announced its intention to sell T-Mobile in March. The subsidiary had suffered from falling turnover, and had been relegated to fourth biggest mobile network in the US.

But politicians and consumer protection agencies have heavily criticized the proposed deal, and US authorities have spent months deliberating its legitimacy.

The sale would mean AT&T had a total of 120 million customers and a 39 percent market share in the US. Regulators fear that would create a duopoly – together with market leader Verizon – covering 76 percent of the market.

Deutsche Telekom is left with three options should the deal collapse: find a new buyer, merge with the third biggest US mobile phone company Sprint, or try to complete a new deal with internet provider Clearwire or a cable network company.

The Justice Department’s decision represents the biggest blow in Obermann’s glittering career.

T-Mobile’s poor performance has been dragging down Deutsche Telekom’s share value for months. On top of that, the company had been counting on the money to extend its fibre-optic network in Germany and to pay off some of its debts.

AT&T announced Wednesday that it was appealing against the decision and would do all it could to save the deal.

The Local/bk