Taiwanese mobile operator Far EasTone Telecommunications has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Taiwan Star Cellular, the 4G unit owned by noodle giant Ting Hsin International, Reuters reports citing the Commercial Times. The takeover has been valued at around TWD18 billion (USD572 million), with Far EasTone outbidding larger rival Chunghwa Telecom, Apple Inc supplier Hon Hai Precision and an unidentified Japanese company in February’s first round of bidding.
Far EasTone plans to acquire the unit, which is marketed under the ‘T Star’ brand, in a cash and share deal, the paper said, but added that it was still possible that noodle giant Ting Hsin could hold a second round of bidding. Reuters adds that Ting Hsin, maker of China’s popular Master Kong instant noodles, has been looking for a buyer for the unit after the government asked local banks to withhold new lending to the company in the wake of food scandals last year.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, T Star switched on its 900MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in August 2014, offering coverage of 85% of the population at launch. Back in October 2013 the market newcomer secured the 2×10MHz ‘B1’ block licence (885MHz-895MHz, 930MHz-940MHz) in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) spectrum auction, paying TWD3.655 billion for the frequencies.