July 15, 2008 / 7:55 AM / 10 years ago

PCCW says to shortlist HKT bidders within month

HONG KONG (Reuters) - PCCW Ltd (0008.HK), the Hong Kong phone company controlled by billionaire Richard Li, said it expects to shortlist bidders for its media and telecoms unit within a month, in a deal that could fetch more than $2.5 billion.

Private equity firms are among those bidding for the newly formed unit, known as HKT Group Holdings, group managing director Alex Arena told reporters on Tuesday. He specified that some of the firms had broadband television investments in Taiwan and South Korea. He did not identify the private equity groups.

Bidders could form teams and submit an offer for HKT as a consortium, he said, with the hope of completing a deal by the end of the year.

Shares in PCCW were up 0.8 percent on Tuesday, outperforming a nearly 4 percent drop in the benchmark index .HSI.

Reuters reported on Friday that the Blackstone Group (BX.N) and Providence Equity Partners were among the private equity firms pursuing a stake in HKT, which is being spun out from PCCW, the battered Hong Kong fixed line carrier.

TPG Capital TPG.UL and Australia’s Macquarie Group (MQG.AX) are also pursuing a bid for HKT, sources told Reuters last week. The two launched a failed bid for a controlling stake in PCCW’s core assets in 2006.

In May, PCCW said it planned to fold its core media and telecoms businesses into a separate firm and sell 45 percent of the new company. Expressions of interest for the stake were due on Monday.

    PCCW’s new media and telecom company could be worth more than $8 billion, including the debt it plans to issue, sources have said.

    A separate source on Tuesday said there were 8 bidders currently under consideration.

    (Additional reporting by Alison Leung and Michael Flaherty)

    Editing by Anne Marie Roantree

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