Hongkong Economic Times heute zu PCCW

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Hongkong Economic Times heute zu PCCW

15:48  26-FEB-2000
PCCW to offer HK$316.2 bln for C&W HKT - paper

HONG KONG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd (PCCW) <1186.HK> was proposing to buy Cable & Wireless HKT (C&W HKT) <0008.HK> for HK$316.2 billion, or HK$26 per share, the Hong Kong Economic Times said on Saturday.

Quoting unidentified sources close to talks on the C&W HKT takeover, the business newspaper said of the consideration of HK$26 per share, HK$8 would be paid in cash, and the remaining HK$18 in PCCW shares and bonds convertible into PCCW shares.

The daily said Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) , which is also bidding for C&W HKT, would meanwhile raise the cash portion of its offer to compete with PCCW. Sources involved in the negotiations were quoted by the newspaper as saying both PCCW and SingTel proposed merging with C&W HKT and to settle the deal partly in cash and partly in shares of the merged entity.

The sources reportedly said it was unlikely for the bid by PCCW or SingTel to be hostile.

At present, Cable & Wireless Plc has a controlling stake in C&W HKT. "It is understood that Cable & Wireless has great reservation about accepting shares of PCCW which does not have substantive assets," the Hong Kong Economic Times said. Ming Pao Daily News, quoting unidentified sources close to the deal, reported similar terms for PCCW's proposal.

It said PCCW would on Monday announce a go-it-alone offer on C&W HKT, instead of a joint bid with other partners.

The newspaper said it understood that China Telecom (Hong Kong) Group Ltd, which is ultimately controlled by China's Ministry of Information Industry and owns 10.7 percent of local telecom giant C&W HKT, would vote for PCCW-C&W HKT merger.

The Chinese telecommunications group is the parent company of Hong Kong-listed China Telecom (Hong Kong) Ltd <0941.HK>.

There is some speculation that PCCW is making the C&W HKT bid at the behest of Beijing, which would not like to see the local telecom giant to fall into the hands of foreigners.

Singapore's government has a controlling stake in Sing Tel. According to Reuters' banking sources, PCCW has made a major breakthorugh on financing its bid for C&W HKT by signing a bridging loan of about US$10 billion with Bank of China, BNP Hong Kong, HSBC and Barclays Capital.

Ming Pao said Bank of China -- China's overseas banking arm -- was lending about US$5 billion, and HSBC HK$4 billion.

Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted Shanghai Post and Telecomunications Administration deputy director Zhang Linde as saying Beijing's Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom Industries and China Telecom (Hong Kong) Group Ltd were very concerned about changes in the shareholding of C&W HKT. That was because China Telecom would be able to cooperte with foreign parties after China's future entry into the World Trade Organisation, and would choose partners carefully, the journal quoted the official as saying.

The newspaper said there were several market rumours about PCCW's offer, with one version being a one-for-one share swap plus HK$8 in cash, valuing each C&W HKT share at HK$29. C&W HKT shares closed at HK$25.85 each on Friday.

Officials at PCCW and C&W HKT were not available to comment on the reports.

((Hong Kong Newsroom +852 2843-6590, Fax +852 2845-0636 hongkong.newsroom@reuters.com)) .

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