AMSTERDAM Investment bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) has cut its stake in KPN (KPN.AS), the Dutch telecoms group that Mexican Carlos Slim, the world's richest person, has targeted as a long-term investment and a stepping stone into Europe.
Morgan Stanley emerged as a major KPN shareholder last week, holding 10.01 percent and raising speculation another bidder might be building a stake in KPN, of which Slim's America Movil (AMXL.MX) holds 4.8 percent.
Dutch market regulator AFM said on Wednesday the stake was now 4.93 percent, reducing the chance a rival bidder is building a stake - analysts said Morgan Stanley could have been holding the shares on behalf of clients and for trading purposes.
America Movil wants to raise its stake in KPN, which has been struggling to raise sales and profit, to around 28 percent and plans a tender offer worth around 2.6 billion euros ($3.3 billion) later this month or in June.
Investors need to report stakes to the regulator when they rise above or fall below 5 percent or multiples of 5 percent, barring exceptions for clearing houses and market makers.
Morgan Stanley's latest 4.93 percent filing requirement arose on May 11, the regulator's document showed. Compared with the filing that arose on May 4, four days before Slim announced his offer, Morgan Stanley more than halved the number of KPN shares and futures it owns and no longer holds cash settled options, call options nor equity swaps.
($1 = 0.7828 euro)
(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Dan Lalor)