" writeme += "

" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "

" playme.document.write(writeme); playme.document.close(); if((navigator.appName == "Netscape") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "3")) {playme.focus();} if((navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "4")) {playme.focus();} if (playme.opener == null) { playme.opener = self; } } function play(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall) { var cm=GetCookie("playbar"); if (cm != null) { //if (cm=="nh" && neth=="t") { cm="hi.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nh" && neth!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="nl" && netl=="t") { cm="lo.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nl" && netl!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rh" && realh=="t") { cm="hi.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rh" && realh!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rl" && reall=="t") { cm="lo.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rl" && reall!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } } window.onerror = MSIE; // -->

Sun, Jul 9, 2000
Where's Dewey?  Click Here!
real time quotes your portfolio registration help
biz bulletin
Top Performers
Top Perfomers
  Stock of the Day
Tip of the Day
Launch Live Ticker
Fox News Home

Indices Chart
Click on index
for more information
Hong Kong Internet Group Wins
Battle to Buy Phone Company

By Dirk Beveridge   Associated Press
HONG KONG — An Internet investment company run by the son of a top Hong Kong tycoon agreed today to buy the territory's big phone company for up to $38.1 billion after a rival from Singapore bowed out of the bidding.

The upstart Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd., controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing's son Richard Li, is less than a year old and has yet to turn a profit. But it pulled off one of Asia's biggest corporate takeovers with its agreement to purchase Cable & Wireless HKT.

The merged company will be called Pacific Century CyberWorks HKT.

The deal announced today still needs approval by the board of Cable & Wireless HKT, which is 54 percent held by its British parent, Cable and Wireless PLC, which cut the deal with Li's Internet group.

Pacific Century CyberWorks said it would pay $38.1 billion in stock, or it is also offering a cash-and-stock alternative that values Cable & Wireless HKT at $35.9 billion.

The higher price would give Cable & Wireless HKT shareholders 38 percent more than what their stock was worth when Li's group first announced the merger talks in mid February, but it's 6 percent less than the price Cable & Wireless HKT fetched at the close on Friday.

Li's company is borrowing most of the needed cash and said it will pay out no more than $11.3 billion in cash in the deal.

The exact value of the deal will likely change as stock prices fluctuate. Shares in Cable & Wireless HKT and Pacific Century CyberWorks were both kept off the market today as details of their deal dribbled out.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. had never announced the size of its earlier bid. But it pulled out of the running today with a statement touting the "solidity and stability" of its failed attempt to create a regional telecommunications powerhouse.

The night before, SingTel had staged a dramatic effort to boost its earlier bid by joining forces with media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The 33-year-old Li appeared jubilant early today as he stopped to chat briefly with reporters on his way into the meeting with analysts. Li's company will hold some 37 percent of the merged group, group managing director Alex Arena said afterward.

Arena said Cable & Wireless PLC will retain about 20 percent of the merged group. Other stakeholders with smaller but significant shares will include China Telecom (Hong Kong) Ltd., CMGI Inc. and Intel Corp.

Li, whose startup Internet group has been on a buying binge, called the phone company "the best platform to develop Asia," though he would not be drawn on any specific strategy.

Li said there were no plans to cut costs by laying off staff.

The battle for control of Cable & Wireless HKT began in January, when SingTel said it was in negotiations that could merge the Hong Kong and Singapore phone companies.

The news stirred talk of a more rapid opening of Asia's telecommunications markets, many of them tightly controlled by regulations that have not permitted the types of freewheeling takeovers that are reshaping the telecommunications industries in the United States and Europe.

Hong Kong and Singapore have two of the more liberalized markets, and analysts said creating a regional group made some sense at a time when both are beginning to face stiffer competition on their home turfs.

But Hong Kong and Singapore are traditionally fierce business rivals, and the idea that Singapore could end up calling the shots at the local phone company stirred considerable opposition here.

Pacific Century CyberWorks soon entered the picture, bringing the considerable clout that the Li family wields in Hong Kong.

There has been much speculation — none of it confirmed — that Beijing preferred to see the Hong Kong phone company remain under local control.

"It's got the influence of the Chinese government written all over it," said Dwayne Taylor, an analyst at Robert Fleming Securities.

Amid signs a deal was drawing near, Pacific Century CyberWorks suspended its shares from trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday. Cable & Wireless HKT took its shares off the market on Monday and said a deal seemed imminent.

More Marketwire More MarketWire News Top of Page

© 2000, News Digital Media, Inc. d/b/a Fox News Online
All rights reserved. Fox News is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Data from Thomson Financial Interactive is subject to the following Privacy Statement

© 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
© 2000 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved