China Unicom says talks with strategic investors ongoing, no agreements signed

China Unicom's logo is pictured at its branch office in Beijing, China, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

BEIJING (Reuters) - Telecommunications operator China United Network Communications 600050.SS said on Sunday it is still in talks with potential strategic investors and has not yet signed any binding agreements.

Reuters reported on Friday that Baidu Inc BIDU.O and < JD.O> will join other big Chinese technology firms, including Tencent Holdings 0700.HK, to jointly invest about $12 billion into the company, a Shanghai-listed unit of state-owned carrier China Unicom.

The report cited sources saying the share sale plan is likely to be finalized by late August.

The move is part of the Chinese government’s drive to rejuvenate state behemoths with private capital. Beijing added China Unicom last year to a first batch of state-owned enterprises to see mixed-ownership reform.

The company said last month it intends to bring in private investors via a private placement as it looks to better compete with larger competitors China Mobile 0941.HK and China Telecom 0728.HK in China's tightly controlled telecom market.

Share trading in China Unicom’s Shanghai-listed unit has been halted since it said in early April it would be part of the government’s mixed-ownership pilot. Prior to that suspension, the unit’s market value topped $23 billion.

In its filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, China United Network Communications said it had noticed media reports about its plan to attract new investors.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Elias Glenn; Editing by Richard Pullin