Ascapia Capital opts against partial takeover offer for embattled Datapulse

SINGAPORE - Hedge fund Ascapia Capital has decided not to make a partial takeover offer for Datapulse Technology after all.

Mainboard-listed Datapulse announced on Friday afternoon (March 9) that it has received a letter from the fund, dated March 8, notifying the company of its intention.

The letter noted that, under the Singapore Code on Takeovers and Mergers, "we are hereafter restricted for a period of six months from the date of this letter from announcing any offer for the company shares or acquiring company shares as will result in us becoming obliged to make a mandatory offer under Rule 14 of the code".

Singapore-based Ascapia has some 410,000 shares in Datapulse. This works out to a stake of roughly 0.19 per cent.

Portfolio manager Wesley Widjaja had earlier told the press that "we want a 27 per cent" interest in the embattled disk drive maker, "so we can have a say" in how the business is being run.

Datapulse has been rocked by a shareholder revolt as well as hit with regulatory actions by the bourse operator, after a new controlling shareholder arrived in December 2017 and the board of directors underwent a reshuffle.

The family of co-founder Ng Khim Guan has launched a bid to oust the recently appointed Datapulse directors and put a stop to their acquisition of a Malaysian personal care product company.

Mr Ng's daughter, Bie Tjin, and family investment vehicle Uniseraya Holdings together have a stake of roughly 16 per cent.

Meanwhile, Ng Siew Hong - no relation - holds 29 per cent of the company and has been backing the board's moves.

Datapulse also has about 9,000 minority shareholders.

Ascapia had said in a March 7 letter that it would announce by end-Friday whether or not it had a firm intention to make the partial takeover offer.

The Datapulse board said that it will provide further updates when there are material developments on this matter.

Separately, Datapulse has also filed a writ of summons and statement of claim against Ascapia over an open letter to minority shareholders, which purportedly contained "baseless allegations".

Datapulse called a trading halt ahead of the announcement. The counter dropped by half a Singapore cent, or 1.35 per cent, to 36.5 cents, as at 2.20pm on Friday, right after trading resumed.