PCCW, the largest fixed line operator in Hong Kong, said yesterday that it had received a non-binding expression of interest from an independent third party to acquire its core telecoms and media assets. The Financial Times writes that the interested party is the Macquarie Group from Australia, and estimates the deal is worth HKD36.6 billion (USD4.71 billion). PCCW, which has estimated its own market value at more than USD4.12 billion, did not name the party or provide financial details. The company said in a statement that it was evaluating the proposed offer and had hired Lehman Brothers to advise it. PCCW said the proposed deal would involve the acquisition of assets and shares in certain subsidiaries, but would not involve the acquisition of shares in PCCW itself. It said it had received the expression of interest on 16 June.
Former Hong Kong phone monopoly PCCW was taken over by tycoon Richard Li in August 2000 and had 2.564 million fixed line subscribers at the end of 2005. It also operates a fast-growing pay TV operation and controls a listed property subsidiary, Pacific Century Premium Developments, or PCPD. PCCW’s Sunday Communications mobile arm, which it took over last year, is also listed. China Network Communications Group, the parent company of China Netcom, bought a 20% stake in PCCW in January 2005 for USD1 billion.