Latin American wireless giant America Movil has gained effective control over KPN after increasing its stake in the Dutch telecom to 27.7 percent.

This latest move and its recent acquisition of a 21 percent stake in Telekom Austria give the company - controlled by Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos Slim - a significant foothold in Europe, a region that has been battered by high unemployment but is a highly developed telecommunications market.

In a regulatory filing, Mexico City-based America Movil said that prior to the expiration of its offer to increase its stake in the telecom, KPN investors had tendered 562.4 million shares, equivalent to 39.66 percent of outstanding shares in the Dutch company.

But America Movil, which had already boosted its stake in KPN to 24.9 percent through market purchases by its AMOV Europa subsidiary earlier this month, only accepted 40 million additional shares because that was its limit under Dutch law without having to make a full takeover bid.

The company's eight-euro-per-share ($9.94-per-share) offer - rejected by KPN's management - was made on May 29 and expired Wednesday.

Prior to this month's share purchases, America Movil had a 4.8 percent stake in KPN, the leading telecom services provider in the Netherlands with a 45 percent share of the fixed and mobile markets.

Telekom Austria is the leading telecommunications company in Central and Eastern Europe and offers phone, broadband Internet and multimedia services to 23 million customers in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Belarus and Liechtenstein.

America Movil has 246 million wireless subscribers and 59.7 million customers of other telecommunications services in 19 countries of the Americas, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the United States and Peru. EFE