(Reuters) - Shareholders of China Eastern Airlines (0670.HK) rejected on Tuesday a deal to sell a 24 percent stake to Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and its parent Temasek Holdings TEM.UL for US$920 million.
The move opens the door to bigger local rival Air China (0753.HK), whose parent, China National Aviation Corp (CNAC), now intends to submit a rival offer within two weeks.
Following are key events so far in the bid for China Eastern:
May 10, 2007 — Singapore Airlines says it has had 10 months of talks with China Eastern but has not reached a decision on whether to buy a stake in the airline.
May 23, 2007 — An influential Chinese financial magazine reports that Singapore Airlines will take a 25 percent stake in China Eastern for $1 billion.
May 29, 2007 — Sources say the planned bid by Singapore Airlines is raising concerns within the Chinese government.
September 2, 2007 — Singapore Airlines and its parent Temasek say they will pay US$920 million for a 24 percent stake in China Eastern.
September 3, 2007 — China Eastern shares jump 76 percent to a record as trading resumes after being suspended since May.
September 24, 2007 — Cathay Pacific says it wanted to enlist the parent of its partner Air China to buy a slice of China Eastern but that the deal would no longer go ahead. It does not explain why not.
November 9, 2007 — China Eastern says Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings sign a definitive deal to buy a 24 percent stake in the airline for US$920 million.
December 13, 2007 — China Eastern says the bid from Singapore Airlines and Temasek Holdings is a “final deal”, sending its shares skidding, as investors abandon hopes of a bidding war.
China Eastern said it expects to return to profit for the whole of 2007.
January 1, 2008 — China National Aviation calls the Singapore Airlines bid unfair and too cheaply priced, suggesting the firm will vote against the impending acquisition.
China Eastern and Singapore Airlines insist deal is fair.
January 6, 2008 - China National Aviation vows to pay at least HK$5 per share for between 24 percent to 30 percent of China Eastern, at least 32 percent more than rival suitor Singapore Airlines’ agreed HK$3.80 per share.
January 7, 2008 — Cathay Pacific Airways (0293.HK) says it will consider joining China National Aviation Corp (Group) Ltd, the parent of its partner Air China, in a higher bid to counter arch-foe Airline’s offer for China Eastern shares.
Reporting by Alison Leung; editing by Dominic Whiting