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America Movil kicks off in Europe

America Movil, the Mexican media conglomerate owned by the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, has set about repeating in Europe its success in Latin America and the U.S. by taking stakes in leading Telcos, starting with the Netherlands and Austria.

It has begun with a hostile move to acquire 27.7 percent of Dutch incumbent Telco KPN for €2.6 billion, and 21 percent of Austria’s leading operator Telekom Austria.

America Movil already dominates Mexican landline and mobile services, and may soon be able to enter the pay TV market there as the Supreme Court has agreed hear its application to have an earlier prohibition overturned later in the summer. This seems likely to happen. The group is the world’s fifth-largest mobile network operator with over 240 million subscribers across 18 countries, and has a strong landline business in Mexico. In pay TV, it has recently become successful in Latin America, claiming now to have 14 million subscribers, including 2.3 million in Brazil for its Claro TV service.

In Europe, pay TV is a major target, with KPN and Telekom Austria having been chosen because they already have a significant TV presence. KPN has about 1.4 million pay TV subscribers shared between IPTV and DTT, almost 20 percent of the country’s total, while Telekom Austria, has 204,000 subscribers for its IPTV service called A1.