Report: PE firms vie for $2.5bn Asian telecoms deal

TPG, MBK Partners, Providence and Macquarie are reportedly among the firms that have made it through the first round of bidding for the media and telecommunications assets of Hong Kong-listed PCCW. Apax, Bain and Carlyle may also be second-round bidders.

North Asian buyout firm MBK Partners, Australia’s Macquarie and global private equity firms Providence Equity Partners and TPG Capital are reportedly on the short list to acquire a 45 percent stake in HKT Group, in deal that could be worth more than $2.5 billion (€1.7 billion).

The four private equity firms have made it through the first round of bidding for the Hong Kong-listed PCCW telecoms unit, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources involved with the deal.
It is not clear which other firms have made it to the short list, but the report cited sources that said other private equity firms in the running include Apax Partners, Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group. Two sources told Reuters that The Blackstone Group did not advance to the second bidding round.

TPG and Macquarie in 2006 were competing for PCCW’s media and communication assets, though opposition was expressed by China Netcom, a state-owned telecommunications company that is HKT's second largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake. Those talks formally 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 ($1.17 billion; €790 million).

HKT Group is a newly incorporated subsidiary of PCCW, the Hong Kong-listed telecommunications group controlled by Li. The subsidiary is a consolidation of PCCW's telecommunications services, and media and IT solutions businesses.