Malaysia-based Axiata Group was tipped to reject an offer for its stake in Singapore operator M1 made by a consortium led by Keppel and could turn the tables by preparing to increase its holding rather than sell it, Reuters reported.

Keppel and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said in a statement they had tabled an offer of SGD2.06 ($1.51) per share for Axiata’s 28.5 per cent stake in M1, a 26 per cent premium on its last trading price. The bid gives Axiata’s share a total combined value of around SGD1.27 billion.

However, Axiata is not happy with the offer, reported Reuters citing a source, and could instead team up with private equity and other companies to launch its own offer for a bigger stake in M1.

Earlier this week, Axiata said in a statement it would consider an offer to the sell the stake, should Keppel and SPH make a bid which enhanced its “own shareholders value”.

Keppel Telecommunications and Transportation, media company SPH and other related parties have a stake totaling 33.27 per cent in M1, which is the smallest of three operators in Singapore, behind market leader Singtel and StarHub.

The move by Keppel and SPH to increase their holding comes a year after all three of M1’s largest shareholders decided against moving ahead with a plan to sell their combined 61 per cent stake, despite receiving bids from a number of parties.

“Through majority control, we would, together with SPH, be able to better able to support M1’s management to drive changes and create greater value in the company,” Keppel CEO Loh Chin Hua said in a statement.