M1 shareholders may seek sale to China Mobile

telecomasia.net

Major shareholders in Singapore's M1 have reportedly approached China Mobile with an offer to sell their majority stake in the operator.

Malaysia's Axiata Group, Singapore Press Holdings and Keppel T&T – which together hold a controlling 61% stake in M1 – are reviewing their investments in the operator in the wake of lackluster financial results and intensifying competition.

The shareholders have now reached to China Mobile as well as other prospective bidders with a proposal to sell the stake, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

Negotiations are still at an early stage and it is unclear whether China Mobile was receptive to the offer, the report notes.

M1 is worth around S$1.9 billion ($1.36 billion), and has long been considered an acquisition target due to its smaller size and diverse shareholder base. Rumors were circulating last month that rival StarHub may be considering acquiring or merging with M1, but later reports disputed those rumors.

The report adds that Singapore trading rules would require the purchaser of the stake to make an offer to buy out the rest of M1.

The review comes ahead of the arrival to the market of new entrant TPG Telecom, the Australian fixed line operator that recently won the auction to become Singapore's fourth mobile operator. TPG is also planning a mobile foray in its home market.

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