Austrian state holding company ÖIAG said Wednesday it was close to reaching a shareholders pact at Telekom Austria with Carlos Slim-controlled America Movil.
The holding company's board is to vote Friday on whether to approve an accord with the Mexico City-based telecommunications giant, ÖIAG chief and Telekom Austria chairman Rudolf Kemler said.
The two companies are the primary shareholders in TA, with ÖIAG holding 28 percent and America Movil 26 percent. The goal is to form a 10-year alliance, which would be accompanied by a capital increase.
The agreement could be ready to be signed in "two or three weeks" provided ÖIAG gives its approval, Kemler said.
"I am convinced that we will get to the end very quickly. I believe the talks so far give cause for optimism," he told reporters in Vienna.
Cooperation with the "gentleman from Mexico" is possible, ÖIAG's chief said, referring to Slim, although he added that Austria's interests must be "clearly" respected in the agreement.
America Movil is looking to raise its stake in TA to at least 30 percent to consolidate the European fixed-line, mobile and data provider in its accounts, while the Austrian government wants to maintain a blocking minority interest of at least 25 percent.
The Austrians also are insisting on certain veto rights, as well as guarantees that TA's headquarters will remain in the central European nation.
Telekom Austria could give the green light for a capital increase at its annual general meeting on May 28, Kemler said Wednesday, though without indicating the possible amount.
Slim plans to invest roughly 1.5 billion euros ($2.07 billion) in TA as part of a push to expand in Central and Southeast Europe, the Austrian press says.
The Mexican multi-billionaire is under certain pressure to gain control of TA after America Movil's failed attempt last year to take over Dutch operator KPN.
The Austrian government, for its part, favors a strategic alliance with Slim, fearing that TA's international presence could dwindle due to a lack of partners with deep pockets and technological know-how.
TA is one of Central Europe's leading telecoms companies with a presence in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Belarus, as well as Austria.
The group has some 16,000 employees and posted just over 4.3 billion euros (around $6 billion) in revenue in 2012. EFE