PCCW take-private bid raised at last minute

Richard Li and China Netcom, two of the telecom company's largest shareholders, have upped their offer from HK$4.20 to HK$4.50 per share, in a bid to win over minority shareholders.

Pacific Century Regional Developments, a holding company owned by Richard Li, and China Netcom, a state-owned telecoms company, have raise their take-private bid for telecoms provider PCCW from HK$4.20 ($0.54) to HK$4.50.

The new and final offer, from two of PCCW’s largest shareholders, ups the deal size from HK$15.5 million to HK$16.6 million for roughly 52.3 percent of the company’s shares, according to a statement from PCCW.

The offer came minutes before a meeting at which PCCW shareholders were expected to reject the original price of HK$4.20 a share, according to the Financial Times. The meeting has been adjourned so voters can consider the new bid.

PCCW’s shares rose to HK$3.76 per share on news of the revised bid. It had closed on HK$3.42 per share the previous day.

Li, also PCCW’s chairman, has tried to sell the company’s assets in the past. In October 2008, PCCW cancelled a $2.5bn auction of a 45 percent stake in HKT, its information technology, telecoms and media business, because of unattractive offers. Private equity firms MBK Partners, Macquarie, Providence Equity Partners and TPG were reportedly in the running for HKT.

In 2006, TPG and Macquarie vied for PCCW’s media and communications assets. The deal was blocked by China Netcom, citing national security concerns. In the end, Hong Kong financier Francis Leung agreed to buy Li’s 22.7 percent stake in PCCW for HK$9.1 billion.

PCCW’s shares were trading at HK$3.70 at press time.