China Mobile, others approached for buying into Singapore telco M1: sources

Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:38am EDT
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By Anshuman Daga

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Top shareholders in Singapore telecoms company M1 Ltd (MONE.SI: Quote) have approached potential buyers China Mobile (0941.HK: Quote) and global private equity firms, among others, to sell their combined majority stake in the firm, sources familiar with the matter said.

The three main shareholders of Singapore's smallest listed telecoms player, who own a combined 61 percent, flagged a strategic review of their investments last month, and jointly appointed Morgan Stanley as their financial adviser.

They did not give a reason behind the review of their stake in the S$1.9 billion ($1.36 billion) company.

The sources said the three shareholders - Malaysia's Axiata Group (AXIA.KL: Quote), Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) (SPRM.SI: Quote) and Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (KTEL.SI: Quote) - had also reached out to other telecoms firms, cash-rich business groups in China and Japanese tech firms to gauge their interest.

First-round bids for M1, long seen as a target due to its small size and diverse shareholding, are expected in a few weeks, the sources said. They added that talks between the parties were still at an early stage and there was no certainty the process would succeed.

They did not provide details on how China Mobile or the other prospective bidders have responded to the approach.

When contacted for comments, Keppel, SPH and Axiata referred Reuters to their joint statement issued last month. M1 referred the query to its shareholders. China Mobile declined to comment.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.   Continued...

People shop for handsets at an M1 mobile shop in Singapore March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su