Slim backs sale of Dutch telecom unit

Forbes says Carlos Slim has a fortune that is worth about $73 billion.
Forbes says Carlos Slim has a fortune that is worth about $73 billion.

AMSTERDAM — Dutch telecom group Royal KPN NV said Monday that it had won the support of its largest shareholder, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, to sell its German unit, E-Plus, to Spain’s Telefonica SA after it sweetened the offer to $11.4 billion.

A statement issued by KPN Monday said Slim’s America Movil would give its ‘‘irrevocable commitment’’ to back the E-Plus sale.

This would leave the path open for Slim — who according to Forbes magazine is the world’s richest man, with a $73 billion fortune — to proceed in his quest to acquire the rest of KPN, which has major operations in the Netherlands and Belgium.


In July, KPN agreed to sell E-Plus in exchange for $6.68 billion in cash and a 17.6 percent stake in Telefonica Deutschland, worth an estimated total of $10.4 billion. Monday’s deal increases the stake KPN will receive in Telefonica Deutschland to 20.5 percent.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Telefonica said Monday that the deal would ‘‘result in a new strong player in the German mobile market with 43 million mobile customers’’ and combined revenues of $11.5 billion annually. The 43 million subscribers would beat the current two strongest mobile providers in Germany, Deutsche Telekom AG, with 37 million, and Vodaphone PLC, with 34 million — though with less revenue.

The deal needs approval of European regulators.

In a separate statement Monday, America Movil said it was still committed to buying KPN and clarified its plans for the Dutch company, saying it wants to strengthen it with superior technology, better procurement, and more investment.