Singapore-based Keppel and media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) submitted a formal offer to acquire all the remaining shares in mobile operator M1.
Keppel owns a 19.23 per cent stake in M1, the smallest of three operators in Singapore behind market leader Singtel and StarHub. SPH has a 13.38 per cent interest.
The bid was confirmed at SGD2.06 ($1.51) per share. M1 shareholders have until 4 February to accept the offer, the companies said in separate filings to the Singapore stock exchange.
Keppel and SPH used their joint venture Konnectivity to make the voluntary conditional general offer for all of M1’s issued shares they don’t own, in a bid to gain a majority shareholding in the operator. The offer is conditional on the bidders acquiring at least 50 per cent of M1’s shares and receiving regulatory approval.
In September 2018, the two companies first tabled a SGD2.06 bid for Axiata’s 28.7 per cent stake in M1, a 26 per cent premium on its share price at the time. Axiata reportedly wasn’t satisfied with the offer.
OCBC Investment Research earlier this week issued a research note recommending M1 shareholders accept the offer, which it said was a fair price, The Edge reported.
The news outlet noted, however, there is the possibility Axiata could team up with other companies to submit a competing offer at a more attractive price.
Singapore has become increasingly competitive after four MVNOs launched services in the city state over the last two years. In 2018 its three major mobile players faced falling or weak earnings along with drops in mobile subscriber numbers and ARPU.
In addition to the new MVNOs, Australia-based TPG is entering the market as the fourth mobile operator after winning a spectrum licence in December 2016.Subscribe to our daily newsletter