PCCW seeks proposals for 45pc holding in unit

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 June, 2008, 12:00am

PCCW, the largest telecommunications operator in Hong Kong, has invited buyers from around the world to submit proposals to take a 45 per cent stake in its newly formed unit HKT Group Holdings.

PCCW said in a stock exchange statement yesterday it had hired UBS as financial adviser for the planned sale.

All bids must be filed by July 14, it said.

Investment bankers said it was rare for a firm to issue an open letter asking for proposals, as asset sales were normally done through bilateral agreements.

'It is not a common practice as the idea of an open tender is generally used in a property sale,' said a banker who advises on mergers and acquisitions.

PCCW said in late May it had set up HKT Group to hold the core assets of the fixed-line, media and information-technology businesses, to improve operational efficiencies and pave the way for fund-raising.

Analysts value HKT Group at between HK$50.7 billion and HK$62.3 billion, suggesting PCCW could get up to HK$28 billion from a sale.

Market watchers have said mainland investors and companies, such as PCCW's second-largest shareholder China Netcom, were likely buyers, so PCCW could avert opposition by Beijing, which scuppered its proposed asset sale in 2006.

Potential bidders should complete a questionnaire and submit it with their proposals, PCCW said, adding that a few bidders would be picked for a detailed due diligence.

It had sent invitation documents to investors who might be interested in submitting proposals, the company said.