Market rumours concerning the success or failure of several telecom and media deals were behind the biggest moves across Europe on Wednesday.
KPN’s planned €4bn rights issue was called into question as analysts and bankers speculated that Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, would block the capital raising through his America Movil, which owns 29.8 per cent of KPN.
“I think there is a possibility that Slim blocks the rights issue,” said Robin Bienenstock, an analyst at AllianceBernstein.
“Either you think this company is in deep trouble and truly needs a rights issue, but that implies the company is in the throes of vertiginous decline . . . or you don’t believe the company is in such dire straits. In which case, it’s not entirely clear why it needs money,” she added.
The shares, which have lost 20 per cent since KPN first announced plans for a rights issue, gained 4.5 per cent to €3.27.
Investors bought into Kabel Deutschland on optimism that Vodafone would bid for Germany’s largest cable operator. The UK-based telecoms operator is considering whether to make a bid, according to people familiar with the company.
Kabel Deutschland’s shares jumped 8.8 per cent to €69.17, while Vodafone fell 1.1 per cent to 171.31p.
Loewe also received a fillip on rumours that Apple was considering bidding €4 a share for the German television set maker. Loewe’s shares soared by more than 40 per cent on the news, and closed up 23.2 per cent to €3.35. Loewe said it was not aware of any offer.
The wider FTSE Eurofirst 300 rose 0.4 per cent to 1,165.61.
ING appeared to frighten investors with news of 2,400 fresh job cuts. The Dutch bancassurer also reported net profits rose by 21 per cent to €1.43bn in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year. The shares fell 4 per cent to €6.65.
News of a boardroom shake-up at Société Générale and fourth quarter losses sent shares in France’s second-largest bank by market capitalisation sliding 3.6 per cent to €31.50.
Get alerts on KPN Royal Dutch Telecom when a new story is published