* KPN says offer “moderately positive”
* KPN, America Movil have talked about cooperation
* America Movil eyes stake of up 28 pct in KPN
* America Movil offers 8 euros/shr or 3.2 bln euros for stake
* America Movil already has 4.8 pct stake in KPN
By Gilbert Kreijger
AMSTERDAM, May 8 (Reuters) - Troubled Dutch telecoms group KPN welcomed a 3.2 billion euro ($4.2 billion) offer by America Movil, the telecoms giant controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, to buy a stake of up to 28 percent, and said the move showed KPN’s shares were undervalued.
Mexico-listed America Movil said on Monday it planned to acquire up to 28 percent of KPN in its first big push into Europe.
“It is moderately positive. We think this is a recognition of the company’s undervaluation,” KPN spokeswoman Maryse Ducheine said.
“There has been one conversation about cooperation,” Ducheine said, adding that the discussion with the Mexican group was about issues such as shared purchasing and roaming.
KPN, the largest telecommunications provider in the Netherlands, has been hit by a string of problems in recent months under its new chief executive, Eelco Blok, who took the helm in April 2011, and has faced criticism from analysts, regulators, politicians and the public.
KPN’s chief financial officer unexpectedly quit in January, citing disagreements over internal governance.
The Dutch telecoms regulator in December put KPN under close supervision, saying it may have broken the law to the detriment of consumers and competitors.
KPN and other mobile phone operators in the Netherlands are also under investigation by the country’s competition authority, known as NMA, for possible price-fixing.
The company has been struggling to reverse a decline in revenues, profit and market shares in its fixed-line and mobile operations as it faces intense competition on its home turf.
America Movil, the biggest mobile operator in Latin America, is a major cash cow for Slim, the world’s richest man who built his empire by purchasing troubled companies and turning them around.
America Movil, which said it already owns 4.8 percent of KPN’s stock, announced on Monday it would make a cash offer of 8 euros per share for the stake, a premium of roughly 23 percent to Monday’s closing share price for KPN of some 6.48 euros.
The 28 percent stake is worth 3.21 billion euros, based on 1.43 billion KPN shares outstanding on March 31 according to KPN’s first-quarter report.