AMSTERDAM, May 13 (Reuters) - The Capital Group, the largest investor in KPN, wants the Dutch telecoms firm to consider a sale of its German unit, a newspaper reported, putting it at odds with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who sees KPN as a springboard into Europe.
In an unsourced report on Saturday, Het Financieele Dagblad said U.S. based Capital Group - whose various funds own between 15 and 20 percent of KPN in total - is concerned about the firm’s performance and believes a sale of its German E-Plus unit could be a possible solution.
However, America Movil, the group controlled by Slim, wants to buy as much as 28 percent of KPN to use it as a foothold to expand in Europe and an inexpensive way into the attractive German market.
America Movil already owns 4.8 percent of KPN.
Morgan Stanley has also built up a stake of about 10.01 percent in KPN, a Dutch regulatory filing showed on Thursday, but it is unclear whether the shares are owned by the U.S. bank or held on behalf of clients.
The Capital Group has been dissatisfied with KPN’s share performance since November, the Dutch newspaper said, adding that it would like to see the value of E-Plus fully monetised, either by selling it or seeking other ways to realise its value.
KPN’s chief executive, Eelco Blok, said in November that a deal in Germany between KPN’s E-Plus business and Spanish operator Telefonica’s O2 could be attractive in a market where both lag behind Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile.
E-plus is in early talks to sell thousands of cell phone towers to raise funds for network expansion, Der Spiegel reported earlier this month.
Sources told Reuters recently that KPN was looking at selling E-Plus.
The entry of Slim as a major shareholder would almost certainly end any remaining ambitions for a merger of E-Plus and O2, whose parent, Telefonica, is a major rival of America Movil in Latin America, one European telecoms executive has told Reuters.
Capital Group was not immediately available to comment and KPN declined to comment on Sunday.