StarHub unlikely to mount M1 takeover bid, report says

31 Mar 2017

In the wake of recent speculation that Singapore’s second largest mobile operator StarHub is mulling a possible takeover of number three player M1 – at a time when the latter’s three biggest shareholders are reviewing their stakes — stocks and derivatives brokerage firm Maybank KimEng maintains that StarHub’s management is steadfastly against an acquisition or merger. The Singapore Business Review cites a Maybank KimEng report as saying: ‘Management has no intention to acquire or merge with M1, but shareholder ST Telemedia will decide … ST Telemedia is wholly owned by Temasek, which is also a major shareholder of M1’s shareholders Keppel T&T and SPH. These two companies hold a combined 32.4% of M1, while Axiata owns 28.3%’. It is understood that StarHub would rather collaborate with M1, and to that end in January this year the pair signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks to explore ways of extending mobile infrastructure sharing provisions in a bid to reduce operational costs as they expand their 4G LTE networks across the city-state. As reported by CommsUpdate, the MoU covers mobile equipment such as base transceiver stations (BTS) and backhaul fibre-optic facilities, and marks a ‘first’ among MNOs in Singapore. Until now the pair have established only limited sharing – e.g. shared antenna systems and in-building fibre cabling – but under the new provisions the MNOs will now consider ways of marshalling their collective resources to roll out next generation services more cost effectively.

Singapore, M1, StarHub