PCCW calls off telecom asset sale

PCCW's attempt at unloading its telecom assets has collapsed in the face of the global financial crisis.

The company said in a statement that the offers received for the 45% stake in the telecom spinoff "were not sufficiently attractive".

The Hong Kong incumbent had received bids as low as $450 million for the telecom, IT and media assets, compared with as much as $2.5 billion two months ago, SCMP.com reported.

Seven private equity firms, including Macquarie, Carlyle, TPG and Bain, were reportedly shortlisted for the deal.

"[W]e strongly believe that the bids received were not sufficiently attractive for us to continue this process," said group managing director Alex Arena. "We have a unique business in Hong Kong and we have a strong cash position in these turbulent times."

Li's PCCW group acquired Hongkong Telecom for $30 billion in cash and stock in 2000.

The abandonment of the PCCW sale follows the failure last week of Huawei's attempted sell-off of its handset business, also because of the financial meltdown. 

PCCW said it would go ahead with the reorganization of the telecom business under HKT. It said it would draw down on its new HK$23.8 billion ($3.1 billion) loan.

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