The world’s largest mobile network operator is exploring a buyout of Hong Kong’s largest telecoms firms, HKBN, with experts saying the deal could be worth over $1 billion
This week, anonymous sources have told the media that China Mobile has sent a request for proposal to a small group of banks, seeking a partner to help oversee the acquisition of Hong Kong’s HKBN.
According to sources, China Mobile is currently receiving approaches from various investment banks and has yet to decide on a formal offer.
Any deal would likely carry a price tag of over $1 billion, with HKBN having been valued at around $1.7 billion last year.
HKBN, one of the Hong Kong’s largest fixed broadband providers with around 37% broadband market share, has been receiving takeover interest for some time now. Last year, the company received separate offers from a trio of private equity firms – KKR, PAG, and Stonepeak, all of whom have a growing presence in the international telecoms market.
Ultimately, however, no deal was ultimately struck as a result of unresolvable issues surrounding the stock’s valuation and the unstable nature of the global economy.
More recently, in March this year, infrastructure investor I Squared Asia Advisors submitted a non-binding letter of interest to the telco.
Thus, potential interest from China Mobile could spark something of a bidding war for HKBN, particularly if sources suggesting that PAG also remains interested in the operator at to be believed.
However, the veracity of these reports about China Mobile remain to be seen, with some Chinese media sources denying the operator is interested in purchasing HKBN.
In somewhat related news, China Mobile released its latest financial report this month, noting that its mobile subscriptions had now reached 983 million – just a stone’s throw away from making the operator the first in the world to reach the
The operator said its active 5G subscribers has reached 363 million, almost a third of its overall subscriber base.
The company’s first-quarter profit was up 9.5% to CNY 28.1 billion ($4.08 billion).
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