China Mobile reportedly became the latest suitor keen to acquire Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN), joining a raft of private equity companies eyeing an ISP which ranked itself as the second-largest provider of fixed-line broadband service in the territory at end-2022.

Reuters reported China Mobile is looking into buying HKBN, which is currently valued at $1 billion, submitting a request for proposal to a group of banks to advise on acquiring and taking the operator private.

The news agency noted China Mobile hasn’t made a decision on making a formal offer.

HKBN reported it had a 34 per cent share of Hong Kong’s residential broadband market and 37 per cent of the enterprise market at end-2022.

In late March, HKBN’s board said it was approached about a potential take over by I Squared Asia Advisors, the same asset management company that owns Hong Kong ISP HGC Global Communications.

Others showing interest include global investment company PAG, Bloomberg wrote, noting potential buyers may team with HKBN management for a buy out.

A sale in 2022 was halted by potential buyers including KKR and PAG due to concerns over the valuation.

HKBN was sold to CVC Capital Partners in 2012 in a management buy out and was listed in 2014.