América Móvil, the pan-American mobile phone operator controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, announced the launch on Tuesday of its tender offer for Carso Global Telecom and Telmex International in a deal valued at $21.8bn.
The acquisition, which analysts say will lead to significant synergies, comes as Mr Slim, the world’s richest individual according to Forbes, seeks to extend his telecommunications empire in the Americas.
With the deal in place, Carso Global Telecom, of which Mr Slim owns 82.7 per cent, and Telmex International, 60.7 per cent of which is controlled by Carso Global Telecom, would both be delisted.
At the same time, América Móvil would consolidate its position as the largest telecoms provider in the Americas with an estimated number of subscribers in excess of 250m, from 206.4m at present.
“We expect new América Móvil to be bigger and better than the existing company – and bigger and better than the sum of the existing companies,” UBS stated in a research note in January, when Mr Slim first announced his plan.
Shares in América Móvil gained 0.4 per cent to 31.55 pesos on Tuesday morning.
Experts say the biggest significance of the tie-up will be a much greater ease for América Móvil to offer so-called “triple play” and “quadruple play”, in which it can sell customers multiple services, including cellular phone, fixed line, internet and television.
This comes amid an increasing convergence between fixed-line and mobile networks. For example, many of the protocols used to transmit data are now common for both networks, allowing companies owning both to use their existing fixed-line infrastructure to absorb the huge growth in data transmission from smartphones.
Carlos García-Moreno, América Móvil’s chief financial officer, told the FT the tender offer was an acknowledgement of that changing reality. “You have to adapt your company’s structure to new technological conditions,” he said.
The acquisition could prove particularly important in Brazil, where Mr Slim’s Embratel, a fixed-line company, and Claro, his cellular phone operator, are locked in competition with Telefónica of Spain.
América Móvil’s Claro has about 25 per cent of the Brazilian mobile market compared with about 30 per cent for Vivo, the joint venture between Telefónica and Portugal Telecom.
Under the proposed terms of the deal, América Móvil will offer Carso Global Telecom shareholders 2.0474 shares for every Telecom share they hold. The company will also offer Telecom Internacional shareholders 0.373 shares in América Móvil or 11.66 pesos for every Telecom Internacional share they hold – which represented a 4 per cent premium to market prices in January.
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