Keppel Corp, SPH get majority control of M1

Konnectivity, a Keppel Corp-SPH joint venture which is majority owned by Keppel, said last night that obtaining majority control of M1 is the first step in the transformational journey that the mobile operator will embark on to enhance its competitiv
Konnectivity, a Keppel Corp-SPH joint venture which is majority owned by Keppel, said last night that obtaining majority control of M1 is the first step in the transformational journey that the mobile operator will embark on to enhance its competitiveness.ST FILE PHOTO

Axiata accepts their joint offer of $2.06 a share for its 28.6% stake

Keppel Corporation, with Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), has obtained majority control of telco M1.

This follows Axiata Group Bhd's acceptance of their joint offer of $2.06 per share for its entire stake of 28.6 per cent. Axiata is a long-term shareholder of M1.

The joint offer for M1 has now turned unconditional and the remaining shareholders will have till 5.30pm on March 4 to accept the $2.06-a-share offer. Konnectivity, a joint venture between the two companies which is majority owned by Keppel, said last night that obtaining majority control of M1 is the first step in the transformational journey that M1 will embark on to enhance its competitiveness.

As of 5pm yesterday, the shares owned, controlled or agreed to be acquired by Konnectivity and its concert parties, as well as the valid acceptances of the offer amounted to 707 million shares. This represented 76.35 per cent of the total number of shares and 75.52 per cent of the maximum potential issued share capital of M1.

Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corp, said: "We are very pleased that we will, together with SPH, be in a position to steer M1 during this critical period in its journey.

"The increasingly challenging and competitive market conditions in the Singapore telecommunications sector require M1 to take bold steps to transform."

M1 is Singapore's third-largest mobile operator, after Singtel and StarHub.

The latest milestone comes after Keppel Corp and SPH announced in December last year their "firm intention" to make a voluntary general offer of $2.06 per share for the remaining M1 shares that they do not own.

At the time of the voluntary general offer, Keppel Corp, one of the founding shareholders of M1, owned 19.3 per cent of M1 through its subsidiary Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation, while SPH had a 13.45 per cent stake.

Mr Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said: "We see opportunities to leverage on M1's mobile platform to offer on demand and ready digital content to better serve our customers. This transaction is part of SPH's ongoing objective to enhance long-term value for our shareholders."

Mr Loh added: "We will work with M1's management to develop and implement new strategic and operational plans to sharpen its competitive edge, increase its momentum in digital transformation and undertake growth initiatives."

He also said M1 complements Keppel Corp's mission to provide solutions for sustainable urbanisation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2019, with the headline 'Keppel Corp, SPH get majority control of M1'. Print Edition | Subscribe