KPN says it believes Slim will retain his stake in group

BARCELONA Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:08pm EST

The logo of Dutch telecom company Royal KPN is seen in their headquarters in The Hague October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Phil Nijhuis

The logo of Dutch telecom company Royal KPN is seen in their headquarters in The Hague October 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Phil Nijhuis

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Mexico's America Movil will likely keep its stake in Dutch phone group KPN following its failed takeover attempt, KPN's chief executive predicted on Thursday.

America Movil, controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, owns a near 30 percent stake in KPN but pulled out of takeover negotiations last month after KPN's board rejected its 2.4 euros a share offer.

"Looking at where the share price is today, looking at our expectations of the financial performance of KPN, and taking into account the average price they paid for their current 29.7 percent stake, I think they will keep their 29.7 percent stake," KPN Chief Executive Eelco Blok told a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona.

"But that's my analysis of the situation and it's up to America Movil to take their decision."

KPN's shares closed at 2.45 euros on Thursday. America Movil paid about 3.24 euros a share for its stake, including stock bought as part of a rights issue by KPN earlier this year.

Blok said the talks had floundered solely on price.

"They were not willing to move on price. And therefore we decided not to continue the discussion on non-financial commitments and governance, he said.

KPN was able to resist Slim's advances thanks to an independent foundation tasked with protecting its stakeholders, which acquired a near 50 percent stake, effectively blocking a hostile takeover.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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