Macquarie denies interest in joining Leung consortium

23 Aug 2006

Australia’s Macquarie Bank has refuted reports in the press yesterday that it is looking to join the consortium being assembled by financier Francis Leung to buy a controlling stake in Hong Kong telco PCCW. ‘The report in the Financial Times is incorrect. Macquarie is not pursuing the sort of transaction speculated on in this article,’ said company spokeswoman Lotte Pang, adding that the bank’s position on PCCW had not changed. That is, it is still interested in PCCW, and that any deal would need the support of all parties involved. Until PCCW’s chairman Richard Li agreed to sell most of his controlling interest (around 23%) to Leung for HKD9.2 billion (USD1.2 billion) last month, Macquarie had been bidding for the operator’s core assets alongside US-based TPG Newbridge, but the Hong Kong firm’s second largest shareholder, state-run China Netcom, opposed the deal on the grounds that China did not want to see the Special Administrative Region’s incumbent fall into foreign hands. Leung has not yet identified financial backers for his bid, although he told the South China Morning Post over a month ago that his private equity company Fiorlatte would be the largest single shareholder in PCCW and that he would disclose the names of other investors by November.

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