Singtel is once again looking to acquire a stake in Intouch Holdings from state-investment firm Temasek to boost its interest in Thailand’s largest mobile operator AIS, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
Intouch, founded by former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, owns a 40.6 per cent stake in AIS. Temasek holds a 41 per cent stake valued at $2.4 billion in the Thai operator, which has a 45 per cent market share, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Singtel, with a 23.3 per cent stake in AIS, first attempted to work out a deal in 2013. But negotiations were halted when the Thai economy stumbled in 2014.
The operator is in talks with Temasek over the size of the Intouch stake and a deal is far from certain, the WSJ said.
Thai regulators limit foreign ownership of telecoms firms to 49 per cent.
Singtel is Singapore’s largest mobile player and also has stakes in operators across Asia, including Bharti Airtel in India, Telkomsel in Indonesia and Globe Telecom in the Philippines. It has also made a number of acquisitions over the past few years. Last year it purchased US-based security firm Trustwave and in 2012 bought Amobee, a digital ad company.