Telenor seizes control of DTAC and UCOM; triggers mandatory buyout of both

21 Oct 2005

Norway’s Telenor has taken control of Thailand’s second largest mobile operator Digital Total Access Communications (DTAC) by upping its stake in the cellco’s parent company UCOM. Telenor paid USD225 million for a 40% stake in UCOM from its founding Bencharongkul family, upping its stake in the company to 65%. UCOM, in turn, holds 42% of DTAC. Telenor already holds a direct 29.94% stake in DTAC and the latest acquisition has triggered mandatory share offers from the Norwegian group for the remaining shares in both UCOM and DTAC. Telenor is offering fellow UCOM shareholders a per share price equal to what it paid for the 40% stake and has placed a 7% premium on DTAC’s latest trading price. If all investors in both companies agree to sell the transactions would cost Telenor around USD830 million.

DTAC is firmly established as Thailand’s number two mobile operator and the only one with any claim to rival market leader AIS. It was founded by UCOM in August 1989 and currently offers its services under the brand names My, Maximise, ZAD and Happy, with the bulk of subscribers having migrated to its digital platforms. UCOM is present in the data market through its wholly owned network solutions subsidiary UTEL and broadband business UBT, which is a 51/49 joint venture with state-run TOT, over whose network it provides ADSL services.