Slim’s America Movil eyes Serbian telecom stake

* Serbia inviting bids for stake in state phone company

* America Movil interested in buying tender documentation

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Cyntia Barrera Diaz

BELGRADE/MEXICO CITY, Nov 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Mexico’s America
Movil, the world’s No. 3 cell phone company by number of
wireless subscribers, is eyeing an upcoming stake sale in
Serbia’s state phone giant Telekom Srbija.

Serbian Telecommunications Minister Jasna Matic said
America Movil, owned by tycoon Carlos Slim, has expressed
interest in buying tender documentation but has not offered a
price for a stake in the company.

The Serbian government owns 80 percent of Telekom Srbija,
with Greek operator OTE (OTEr.AT: ) holding the other 20 percent.
The government invited bids for 51 percent of the telecom
operator in October. Interested companies have until Dec. 10 to
buy the documentation.

“We will see whether the Mexican company will purchase
documentation next week,” Matic told reporters on Tuesday.

America Movil (AMXL.MX: ) (AMX.N: ), which has operations
ranging from the United States to Argentina, closed the third
quarter with 267 million service accounts: 217 wireless, 28
million fixed-line, 12.5 million broadband Internet, and 9.4
million paid television.

Two weeks ago, the Mexican company announced a four-year
expansion plan that includes aggressive subscriber base growth,
deploying a submarine cable to improve traffic in Latin
America, launching mobile financial services, and producing
some content in countries where it already offers television
services, like Colombia.

Chief Executive Daniel Hajj said that with few markets left
to tap in Latin America, the company would consider expanding
overseas. “We are open to invest outside Latam; we are open to
review alternatives,” he said.

However, analysts said a venture into Serbia was not the
most obvious move for America Movil.

“This Mexican story is a puzzling one. I cannot identify
their (America Movil’s) interest to enter Europe through
Serbia, which is not integrated in European systems and which
is a telecommunications dead-end,” said Mahmud Busatlija, a
Belgrade-based consultant.
(Additional reporting by Ivana Sekularac in Belgrade; editing
by John Wallace)

Slim’s America Movil eyes Serbian telecom stake