Reuters reports that Singapore conglomerate Keppel Corp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) – the two groups seeking to gain majority control of city-state mobile operator M1 – have confirmed they will not raise their offer price for the venture, a move that could ramp up pressure on M1’s single largest stakeholder, Axiata Group.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Keppel and SPH confirmed their ‘firm intention’ to push ahead with a SGD2.06 (USD1.52) per share general offer for the remaining shares that they do not own in M1, via joint venture company Konnectivity Ltd which is majority owned by Keppel. On 27 September 2018 sources suggested that Keppel Corp subsidiary Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (Keppel T&T), which owns 19.23% of M1, and SPH, which holds 13.38%, would launch their bid, subject to the pre-condition of approval from the industry regulator, the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). That pre-condition was subsequently satisfied, allowing the pair to approach Axiata Group concerning a possible deal. The Malaysian carrier currently controls a 28.54% stake in M1, while Keppel and SPH collectively control 34.30%. Axiata, which is rumoured to view the offer price as inadequate, has so far declined to comment.