Singtel mulls buyout bid for Thailand’s biggest telco

Singtel mulls buyout bid for Thailand’s biggest telco

Deal would see Gulf Energy Development buy out Singtel and other stakeholders from their share in Intouch and AIS.

Sarath Ratanavadi (Gulf Energy Development)

Sarath Ratanavadi (Gulf Energy Development)

Credit: Gulf Energy Development

Singapore telco giant Singtel is reviewing its options following a buyout offer from Gulf Energy Development for Thai holdings company Intouch, majority owner of the country’s largest telecommunications provider Advanced Info Service (AIS). 

Intouch told investors on 19 April that it had received a conditional voluntary tender offer for all its securities by the Thai energy sector holdings company, run by billionaire CEO Sarath Ratanavadi. 

The tender offer was placed at Baht 65 per share, equating to a total value of roughly US$5.4 billion, according to media outlet Reuters. The deal would see Gulf Energy Development buy out Singtel and other stakeholders from their share in Intouch and AIS.

Singtel entered into conditional share purchase agreements with Temasek in August 2016 to acquire 21 per cent of Intouch Holdings. Now, Gulf Energy Development plans to ramp up its investment in shares of Intouch Holdings and acquire all the securities of AIS. 

Specifically, Gulf Energy wants to build upon its existing shareholding of Intouch by buying up close to 2.6 billion shares in the holdings company that it does not already own, equating to 81.07 per cent of the total issued shares in the company.  

If the tender offer for Intouch securities results in the Gulf Energy holding 50 per cent or more of total voting rights in the target company, it will commence a tender offer for all the securities in AIS at an offer price of Baht 122.86, obtaining 100 per cent ownership of the telco.  

While Intouch is also an owner of Thailand’s biggest satellite telecommunications operator Thaicom, Gulf Energy has made it clear it does not intend to make an offer on Thaicom securities and is in discussions with Thailand’s securities regulator to waive obligations requiring it to also make an offer on the company’s securities.  

Singtel is considering its options.

“Singtel views its stakes in [Intouch] and [AIS] as strategic investments and we believe in the long-term outlook of the businesses,” the telco told shareholders on 19 April. 

“Singtel is reviewing its strategic options to ensure that [Intouch] and [Advance] shareholders get full benefit of the intrinsic value of the businesses and will, in compliance with the Corporate Disclosure Policy of the SGX-ST Listing Manual, make the relevant disclosures (if any) at the appropriate time. 

“Singtel wishes to advise its shareholders to refrain from taking any action in respect of their shares in Singtel which may be prejudicial to their interests, and to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of Singtel,” it added.

In August last year, AIS was appointed as the first VMware cloud partner to take Cloudian storage capabilities to market in Thailand, targeting digitally focused customers at enterprise level.

Terms of the partnership saw the Bangkok-based business -- which operates as a VMware Cloud Provider Partner -- offer Cloudian S3-compatible enterprise object storage for VMware Cloud Director environments.

Tags singtelThailandAISIntouch


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