PCCW abandons buyout plan

PCCW chairman Richard Li has called off his contentious $HK15.9 billion ($2.0 billion) plan to privatize the Hong Kong incumbent telco.

In a statement issued Thursday morning he said litigation over the buyout had created \'an additional and unnecessary burden\' to PCCW and had been divisive to Hong Kong society.

Li said he would let the HK$4.50 offer lapse and would pay shareholders a special dividend of HK$1.30 per share.

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a lower court ruling that approved the buyout offer from Li\'s Singapore-listed Pacific Century Regional Developments (PCRD) and mainland carrier China Unicom.

The case had been brought by the Securities and Futures Commission, alleging that vote-splitting had affected the outcome of the February shareholder vote on the buyout.

Li said in his statement that he had wanted to \'give minority shareholders an opportunity to exit for cash at a substantial premium to the market price.\'

He said he was sorry that minority shareholders have lost this opportunity, which the company still believed was the right course of action.

\'The debate and subsequent litigation have not only brought an additional and unnecessary burden to the Company but have also been unnecessarily divisive to society.\'

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