NCC rejects APT, Ambit merger application

29 Jan 2015

Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has reportedly rejected plans for a merger of Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) and Ambit Microsystems, according to the China Post. With the proposed tie-up also involving a strategic alliance with another of Taiwan’s cellular operators – Taiwan Mobile – it is understood that the regulator was not satisfied that the merger application had adequately explained the scope of this alliance. While the NCC has the option to ask for supplemental information in such matters, it has been suggested that it has requested the companies involved make an entirely new application as it feels there is still so much to clarify with regards to the manner in which the APT/Ambit merged entity will interact with Taiwan Mobile. Further, it is believed that the decision to reject the application has in part been influenced by an ongoing legal discussion related to internet roaming.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2014 Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, owner of Ambit Microsystems, said it would spend TWD11.6 billion (USD390 million) to acquire a stake in multi-service operator APT, paying TWD20 a share for a total of 582.9 million shares via a private placement. Following this, both APT and Asia Pacific and Foxconn unit Ambit Microsystems Corp would, it said, merge fully via a share swap, pending agreement on terms, by 20 June 2014. While the APT board approved the merger plan later in June 2014, that September 2014 saw claims the plans faced a stumbling block in that the two companies hold a combined 30MHz in the 700MHz and 900MHz bands – exceeding the 25MHz limit set by the NCC. Meanwhile, earlier this month it was announced that the NCC plans to hold an administrative hearing regarding the 4G roaming partnership agreement between APT and Taiwan Mobile soon amid suggestions that the deal may have infringed both the Telecommunications Act and the Fair Trade Act.