VIENNA, March 11 Austria and America Movil
are still in talks on pooling their stakes in Telekom
Austria but have not moved to formal negotiations, the
state holding company said.
"There are still only talks. We are not at the negotiations
stage. That could change in the next weeks, but we don't know
that yet," the OIAG spokesman said after a special meeting of
its supervisory board on Tuesday.
Austria and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's America Movil are
considering pooling their Telekom Austria stakes in a syndicate,
which would trigger an immediate takeover offer for the rest of
the company by crossing a 30 percent ownership threshold.
Creating such a syndicate would mean that Slim and Austria
would have to vote in unison on major issues, protecting
Austria's influence even with a smaller stake, while allowing
Slim to gain control without risking political hostility.
The special meeting had been called by the Telekom works
council, which is nervous about the prospect of America Movil
increasing its 27 percent stake above the OIAG's 28 percent.
The works council is urging Austria to keep at least a
blocking minority of 25 percent plus one share in the former
state monopoly, which it views as its best chance of protecting
jobs and the status of the company's Vienna headquarters.
A capital increase is widely expected to be proposed at
Telekom Austria's annual shareholder meeting in May, giving Slim
an opportunity to raise his stake.
Telekom Austria's works council head Walter Hotz declined to
comment after the meeting, citing the confidentiality of the
contents of meetings of the OIAG supervisory board, of which he
is a member.
Telekom Austria Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter declined
to comment when asked about the possible capital increase.