Humble pie: Macquarie still hungry for a slice of PCCW

22 Aug 2006

The Financial Times reports that Australia’s Macquarie Bank wants to join a consortium to buy a controlling stake in Hong Kong’s dominant telco PCCW, despite having its original offer for the company’s assets rejected last month. Sources quoted by the newspaper said Macquarie was in talks with Hong Kong financier Francis Leung, who last month agreed to buy majority control of PCCW for HKD9.2 billion (USD1.2 billion), with a view to taking a minority stake in his acquisition vehicle. Macquarie declined to comment yesterday.

In late July PCCW formally rejected offers from Macquarie and US-owned TPG Newbridge for its core assets, citing opposition to a potential deal from its 20% stake holder China Netcom, which objected to non-Chinese investors taking control of Hong Kong’s fixed line infrastructure. Mr Leung has been in discussions with parties interested in joining his consortium and has promised to disclose his backers when he pays his first installment later this year. One person familiar with the situation said talks between Macquarie and Leung were at an early stage.

Hong Kong, HKT (incl. CSL), PCCW Group