PCCW cancels $2.5bn auction

MBK, Macquarie, TPG and Providence were reportedly bidding on the telcom company, which represents the second Asian deal to be scuppered in recent days.

Telecommunications provider PCCW has cancelled the sale of a 45 percent stake in HKT, its information technology, telecommunications and media business, because “the recent market downturn has significantly impacted the offers received”, the company said in a statement.

MBK Partners, Macquarie, Providence Equity Partners and TPG had made it through the first round of bidding for the company, which was expected to fetch a price of more than $2.5 billion, Reuters reported.

PCCW “still plans to proceed with its previously announced reorganisation of the businesses”, said the statement.

In 2006, TPG and Macquarie competed for PCCW’s media and communications assets. The deal was opposed by China Netcom, a state-owned telecommunications company as well as HKT's second largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake. Those talks ended when Hong Kong financier Francis Leung agreed to buy billionaire Richard Li's 22.7 percent stake in PCCW for HK$9.1 billion ($1.2 billion; €869 million).

This is the second Asian auction this week that has been cancelled. Last week, Shenzhen-based telecommunications company Huawei Technologies postponed the sale of a majority stake in its mobile products unit to private equity firms. The deal was worth approximately $2 billion and would have been one of China's largest-ever private equity transactions.