An exclusive group of investors - including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, Dell Inc founder Michael Dell and the Kwok brothers of Sun Hung Kai Properties - stands to make US$189 million, or almost 60 per cent profit, from a three-year investment in the mainland's telecommunications industry. The figure was revealed in the latest listing details filed by China Netcom Group Corp (Hong Kong) for its US$1 billion to $1.2 billion dual offering in Hong Kong and New York. Through CNC Fund, the group of foreign investors holds 445.5 million shares in the listing candidate after swapping their 12 per cent stake in the previous internet protocol-backbone carrier China Netcom Corp - better known as Little Netcom. The shares are worth between US$450 million and $514 million, based on the offer price range of Netcom's initial share offering announced yesterday. Apart from Mr Murdoch, Mr Dell and the Kwok brothers, the group is also believed to include Lee Shau-kee, the head of Henderson Land Development, and Goldman Sachs. Together, they invested US$325 million in February 2001 in the former nationwide IP-backbone as a springboard to tap into the mainland's fast-growing broadband market. On paper, they stand to gain between US$125 million and $189 million, a return of between 38.5 per cent and 58.2 per cent for their three-year investment. The gain fulfils the promise of Edward Tian Suning, the chief executive of both the former Little Netcom and the listing candidate, to the foreign investors before the restructuring of the mainland telecommunications industry that their interests would be protected. The listing prospectus did not give a detailed breakdown of CNC Fund's shareholders, apart from Goldman, Netcom's listing sponsor and global co-ordinator, which holds an 18.46 per cent stake. This translates into 82.24 million shares and based on the mid-point of the offer price range - HK$8.44 per share - it means Goldman's stake in the red chip is worth about US$89 million on top of the tens of millions in underwriting fees it is expected to collect from the dual offering. Shanghai Alliance Investment, a venture backed Jiang Mianheng - the son of former president Jiang Zemin - also converted its stake in Little Netcom for 37.8 million shares, or 0.7 per cent of the listing vehicle's stake. Netcom yesterday announced it would sell 1.046 billion shares at between HK$7.88 and $9 each, representing an adjusted forward earnings multiple of between 7.1 and 8.1 times based on its underwriting syndicate's consensus forecasts.