HONG KONG, Sept 7 KKR & Co LP and HKBN
Ltd have placed final bids for the Hong Kong telecom
arm of Wharf Holdings Ltd, in a deal likely to fetch
$1 billion to $1.2 billion, people familiar with the matter told
MBK Partners and TPG Capital Management LP have
also made a joint bid for Wharf T&T, which has also drawn a bid
from SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd, these
Last year, Wharf T&T generated about $100 million in
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation
(EBITDA), the people said.
Three more suitors submitted bids last week, said one of the
sources, who declined to be identified as they were not
authorised to speak publicly on the matter.
Two of the people said the auction front-runner was telecom
firm HKBN, whose biggest shareholder is Canadian pension fund
CPPIB. But HKBN would face antitrust scrutiny as well as a
shareholder vote on the deal due to the size of the target
asset, rending its bid uncertain, they said.
KKR, HKBN, MBK, TPG and Wharf declined to comment. SmarTone
did not provide an immediate comment.
Wharf Holdings, backed by Hong Kong tycoon Peter Woo, owns
Hong Kong marquee properties including the Times Square and
Harbour City shopping malls. Last year, it launched a strategic
review of its communications, media and entertainment division.
The division includes Wharf T&T - Hong Kong's second-largest
business fixed-line operator, according to the firm's website -
and television broadcaster I-Cable Communications Ltd.
Some bidders have also made offers to buy I-Cable, though it
was unclear whether Wharf would sell the money-losing
broadcaster, the people said.
(Reporting by Denny Thomas and Sumeet Chatterjee; Additional
reporting by Prakash Chakarvarti; Editing by Christopher