Consortium offers to buy 26% of PCCW

A new buyer has emerged with an offer to buy a controlling stake in Hong Kong-listed PCCW, while Macquarie Bank and TPG-Newbridge’s are attempting to buy its telecom and media assets.

A consortium led by Hong Kong’s financier Francis Leung Pak To has reportedly emerged with an offer to buy PCCW’s chairman’s 26 percent stake in the company. The trading of PCCW shares, which are listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has been suspended Monday following a report in The Standard, a Hong Kong newspaper.

Leung has offered to buy the entire 26 percent stake belonging to Richard Li, chairman of PCCW and the son of Asian tycoon Li Ka Shing, in PCCW for HK$6 a share in a transaction worth HK $10.5 billion ($1.35 billion; €1.055 billion).

PCCW declined to comment on the report by The Standard. Francis Leung has called for a press conference to be held at 21.00 hours Hong Kong time, July 10, his public relations’ representative said.

The latest offer is seen to be much more likely to succeed than the $55 billion and HK $57 billion offers by Macquarie Bank and TPG-Newbridge respectively, for key telecom and media assets of PCCW, The Standard reported, citing unnamed sources.  

Leung’s offer, which represents a 9.1 percent premium to PCCW’s closing price at the end of the last week, may be well below the multi-billion private equity offers but seen as less likely to face opposition from state-owned China Netcom.

PCCW’s second largest shareholder China Netcom had previously indicated that it was unwilling to see any changes to the Hong Kong ownership of PCCW, or its assets.

Li is reportedly keen on selling his stake, and said last week that he hoped to conclude a deal by the end of July.

Leung, the former chairman of Citigroup in Asia, is known for bringing some of China’s largest state-owned companies to be listed on the Hong Kong stock market in the 1990s when he had been a senior banker at BNP Paribas.