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RealTime IT News

Pac Century Takes Quarter Stake in Singapore's SilkRoute

Singapore Internet content provider SilkRoute Holdings Pte. Ltd. has signed a deal for Hong Kong-linked Pacific Century Regional Developments to take a 25.1 percent stake in the company for US$26.9 million.

Cyberworks, owned and led by Richard Li, has an option to invest a further US$6.6 million for an additional 4.9 percent stake in SilkRoute.

SilkRoute, set up five years ago, was one of the first homegrown starts ups to venture into the internet marketplace, ahead of the scores of Singaporean companies now venturing into the business. One of the key moves for the group has been to develop and spin off business-to-business eCommerce provider Advanced Manufacturing Online.

According to the deal, Pacific Century Cyberworks, a unit of Singapore publicly listed Pacific Century Regional Developments, will buy a quarter stake into the Singapore company. Cyberworks will pay US$6 million in cash and the rest with 25 million of its own shares priced at HK$6.50 each.

Through the deal, both companies plan to use each other's home ground as a launchpad for their services, linking up north and south Asia through Singapore and Hong Kong. They also plan to invest in internet startup companies and build a region-wide network of internet-related interests.

"In the course of the next 18 months, SilkRoute aims to incubate and spin-off more than 10 online businesses," said Wong Toon King, SilkRoute's founder.

"This partnership offers significant advantages," said Wong. Hong Kong's Cyber-Port, Li's e-commerce initiative in Hong Kong, is an infrastructure project which will provide SilkRoute with a strategic launching pad into North Asian markets. Pacific Century's presence in the Asian markets, based on its previous experience with STAR TV, will facilitate such operations, he added.

Li, present at the event, said "Pacific Century CyberWorks' strong operating base at the center of North Asia and Greater China, and SilkRoute's strategic location at the hub of the Asean and India markets, are complementary."

Wong also said that the company's shareholders plan to take SilkRoute public next year and want to achieve a market capitalization of S$1 billion.