RealTime IT News

Pacific Century CyberWorks Aims for Asia Big Time

Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd. Friday revealed it has its fingers in several major pies throughout the Pacific Rim, including Cable & Wireless HKT and Hong Kong's Golden Power.

PCCW Friday also agreed to make a $1 billion share swap with Hikari Tshushin Inc. which will leave PCCW with a 1.65 stake in the Japanese conglomerate and extract a 3.5 percent share to Hikari Tshushin, according to a Bloomberg report. The deal will also give PCCW a 20 percent stake in Golden Power International Holdings Inc., which Hikari Tshushin recently purchased, the report said.

Cable & Wireless also today confirmed it had received notice that PCCW intends to propose a merger with Cable & Wireless HKT. HKT said that since there "can be no certainty that a firm proposal will be made by PCCW," it will continue its negotiations with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) as well.

Richard Li's Net play said that it has enlisted the help of investment banks Warburg Dillon Read and Bank of China International to back its new bid for Cable & Wireless HKT, according to reports. The South China Morning Post also reported that local telecom power Hutchison-Whampoa may become involved in the approach from PCCW.

The Post report added that U.K. mobile player Vodafone Airtouch may also join the PCCW-Hutchison consortium. Vodafone has recently squared away its own telecom merger negotiations with Mannesmann A.G., which concluded in a friendly $159 billion takeover.

Hutchison-Whampoa is owned by Cheung Kong Holdings, Ltd., whose chairman Li Ka-shing is Richard Li's father.

Cable & Wireless confirmed that it was approached by PCCW, but did not release further details. Neither Vodafone nor SingTel has responded publicly, according to reports. The deal would give PCCW the broadband network that it had initially set out to build.

The Cable & Wireless group owns 54 percent of Cable & Wireless HKT. The company last month sealed its deal with Star TV, the original sale of which paid for the formation of Li's Pacific Century Group.