Exclusive: Mexico's Slim not eyeing more Europe buys for now

Wed Jul 4, 2012 1:12am EDT
 
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By Simon Gardner and Krista Hughes

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim said on Tuesday he has no immediate plans for further telecommunications purchases in Europe after buying into Dutch firm KPN and Telekom Austria.

Asked if he was looking to expand further in Europe after the two recent deals, Slim told Reuters: "No, no. We're not looking for nothing now. We are going to consolidate what we've got."

Slim's America Movil, which is present in roughly a dozen Latin American countries, is establishing a beachhead in Europe where a combination of tough competition, regulatory pressure and recession in many markets has beaten down some company valuations to near decade lows.

Unlike his expansion in Latin America, where the 72-year-old entrepreneur has purchased much bigger stakes or whole companies, he has taken a more cautious approach in Europe.

Slim recently increased his stake in KPN to 27.7 percent and boosted his stake in Austria Telekom to 23 percent, his biggest foray yet into the European market.

His arrival in Europe touched off a period of turbulence in the telecoms sector, with industry executives and analysts questioning if it would lead to a long-awaited consolidation in some markets like Germany or Spain.

OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES

With an empire stretching from banking to hotels to mining, the world's richest man said he remained open to opportunities.   Continued...

 
Mexican telecommunications and retail tycoon Carlos Slim Helu delivers his speech on the impact of new technologies during a lecture organized by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud