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Euronews: Slim Makes Move on KPN

Carlos Slim, KPN Telecom NV, the European Commission and BT Group plc proffer something for the weekend in today's EMEA roundup.

  • Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. has launched a cash offer of €2.40 per share for the shares in Dutch incumbent KPN it does not already own. This represents a premium of approximately 35.4 percent on the average closing price of KPN's shares over the last 30 days, and a total bid of €7.2 billion (US$9.6 billion). According to Reuters, this could block an offer from Telefónica SA for KPN's German unit, E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG. Last month Slim signalled that such a move might be on the cards when he terminated an agreement that capped América Móvil's stake in KPN at 30 percent. (See Euronews: Does Slim Want All of KPN?, Euronews: KPN to Sell E-Plus for €8.1B, Euronews: Slim's Stealthy Expansion and Slim's Dutch Drama.)

  • Privacy International, a group concerned with the citizen's right to privacy, has a number of European operators in its sights following the revelation by a German newspaper that those companies were complicit in the Internet surveillance program carried out by GCHQ, the U.K. government's espionage center. The Guardian reports that lawyers for the group have written to the chief executives of the operators concerned, BT and Vodafone Group plc among them, as a possible prelude to legal action. (See British Spooks Tap the Global Net.)

  • The European Commission is once again directing its fire at the German regulator, telling it to amend or withdraw its plan to set fixed termination rates at a level three times higher than the European Union average. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said in a press statement: "EU telecoms rules require Member States to promote competition, protect EU consumers' interests and further the Single Market. I cannot accept an approach to setting termination rates which goes against these principles and objectives." That's you told, then, Germany.

  • Here's a sign of the times: BT's BT6500 Nuisance Call Blocker handset, which can, as its name suggests, screen out unwanted calls from pressure-selling companies and others, has become the operator's fastest-selling phone ever. Nuisance calls have become a massive problem in the U.K., with unscrupulous outfits attempting to persuade people to pursue compensation claims over the mis-selling of so-called payment protection insurance (PPI) being the chief culprits.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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