Keppel, SPH to buy remaining M1 shares at $2.06 each from April

Konnectivity, a company owned jointly by Keppel Corp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), will buy all the remaining M1 shares it does not own at $2.06 each, from next month.

It owns 94.55 per cent of the telco after a voluntary unconditional general offer closed yesterday.

"Due to strong shareholder support, (Konnectivity) is entitled, and will exercise its rights, to compulsorily acquire all the shares of the shareholders who have not accepted the offer," said a joint statement by Keppel Corp and SPH.

In a filing with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) last month, Konnectivity had offered to buy the remaining shares at $2.06 each by a deadline that was extended to yesterday.

Konnectivity is expected to hold 80.69 per cent of M1 after the acquisition, with the rest owned by Keppel Telecommunications and Transport, Keppel Corp's subsidiary.

M1 will then be delisted following approval from the SGX.

Keppel and SPH will subsequently work with M1 to improve the telco's competitive edge. "M1 will devise a multi-pronged strategy of innovation, technology adoption and digitalisation to better meet the needs of its customers," the statement said.

Keppel Corp chief executive Loh Chin Hua said the acquisition will "allow us to more effectively drive changes in M1 to improve its competitiveness". It will also work closely with M1 management to "renew the company's focus (and) reinvigorate its products and services", among other strategies, Mr Loh added.

SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung said the acquisition marks "the beginning of a strategic collaboration between SPH, Keppel and M1".

SPH and Keppel Corp are founding shareholders of M1, which was formed in 1994 to enter Singapore's mobile telecoms market. The other consortium members are Cable & Wireless and Hong Kong Telecom.

M1 CEO Manjot Singh Mann said the telco will work closely with Keppel Corp and SPH to "accelerate the changes needed". "Keppel and SPH bring with them their organisational strengths and stability, which will help us chart our growth plans aggressively, while seeking significant opportunities... with them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2019, with the headline 'Keppel, SPH to buy remaining M1 shares at $2.06 each from April'. Print Edition | Subscribe