Malaysian tycoon offers $4.6b to buy Maxis

04 May 2007

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan has offered about 16 billion ringgit ($4.6 billion) to buy out Maxis, the country's No. 1 mobile phone company that he controls, bankers said.

Krishnan, Malaysia's second-richest man, owns 47.05% of Maxis Communications, and his associates own about 13% for a controlling stake of 60%.

Now he wants to buy the remaining 40 % shares held by the public, offering 15.60 ringgit ($4.50) a share, said deal adviser CIMB Investment Bank, in what would be Malaysia's largest corporate deal so far this year.

The offer was made by Binariang GSM, which was especially set up by Maxis' parent company, Usaha Tegas, which is wholly owned by Krishnan, for the takeover.

CIMB said Binariang aims to raise funds for the deal from the debt market and other avenues.

The offer values Maxis shares at a 20% premium, a price that has not been reached since Maxis was listed in 2002.

It puts the total worth of the country's seventh largest publicly listed company at 39.5 billion ringgit ($11.3 billion), compared to its market capitalization of 32.9 billion ringgit ($9.5 billion).

Analysts and fund managers said the move may be a prelude to a regional expansion drive by Maxis, the country's biggest mobile phone operator with 8.1 million subscribers.

With Malaysia's mobile phone market largely saturated and growing slowly, some analysts believe Maxis plans to push further into large markets such as India and Indonesia. It owns 74% of India's Aircel and 95% of loss-making PT Natrindo Telepon Seluler in Indonesia, both unlisted companies.

© 2007 The Associated Press

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