First Pacific Co has been talking to international telecommunications companies about possible participation in its greater-China business, which includes Hong Kong's Pacific Link mobile operation. The company has a wide range of telecom investments across Asia but has placed its Hong Kong, China and Taiwan interests into one package (China Link), a stake of which is widely believed to be up for sale. United States investment bank Merrill Lynch believes Pacific Link is close to concluding a restructuring deal that could see the departure of British company Vodafone as a 35 per cent shareholder in Pacific Link and the introduction of a new strategic investor. Analyst Adrian Faure said: 'Our understanding of such a deal would suggest that First Pacific would retain control of its greater-China telecom interests while selling down perhaps as much as 49 per cent of its current holding,' Observers believe the competitive nature of the Hong Kong mobile phone market and the group's exposure to it has weighed heavily on its recent share price. Pacific Link, with about 240,000 subscribers, has fallen to fourth position in Hong Kong's cellular market, behind SmarTone, Hutchison and Hongkong Telecom.