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SMC ups Liberty Telecom stake to 41.48%

5 Nov 2010

Filipino diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC) has upped its stake of domestic telecoms group Liberty Telecoms Holdings from 33.00% to 41.48%, by purchasing 64.58 million common shares in the operator priced at PHP3.40 (USD0.08) per share. The transaction was conducted through SMC’s wholly owned Vega Telecom Inc subsidiary and followed the acquisition of 587.95 million and 579.11 million Liberty shares in May and July, respectively. SMC has said it could look to buy up to 49% of the company.

The conglomerate’s joint venture partner in Liberty, Qatar Telecom (Qtel), is also looking to increase its stake in Liberty Telecom to the constitutional limit of 40%. Last month CommsUpdate reported Qtel chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saud Al-Thani as saying his firm is fully committed to the company and is in talks with SMC with a view to increasing its 32.7% holding.

Liberty, which is currently under corporate rehabilitation, focuses on wireless broadband services and has a current market valuation of around USD110 million. It launched 4G wireless broadband services in February this year under the Wi-Tribe brand. At the end of March 2010 Liberty announced that it had signed up 1,000 subscribers to its pre-commercial WiMAX trials, with full commercial launch set to follow.

Philippines, Liberty Telecoms Holdings (Tori Spectrum, formerly Wi-Tribe)

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