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SK to pay $1.2bn for control of Hanaro

04 декабря 2007

SK Telecom, South Korea's largest wireless carrier, yesterday confirmed it had agreed to pay Won1,090bn ($1.18bn) in cash for a controlling stake in Hanaro-telecom, the country's number-two broadband service provider.

"Building on our strong expertise in convergence business, we will strive to create new global business models such as developing wired and wireless int-egrated service with Hanarotelecom," Kim Shin-bae, SK Telecom's chief executive, said in a statement.SK to pay $1.2bn for control of Hanaro

Subject to government approval, American International Group and Newbridge Capital, the US private equity fund, will sell the 38.9 per cent stake in Hanaro that they bought for $500m in 2003 to SK Telecom. The sellers were advised by Goldman Sachs.

The sale price values Hanaro shares at Won11,900, a 46 per cent premium to the internet provider's share price before it started sale talks a month ago.

Hanaro shares fell 6.56 per cent to Won11,400 yesterday after the deal was an-nounced, while SK Telecom closed 1.01 per cent higher at Won250,000.

SK Telecom, which already has a minority stake in Hanaro, will become the biggest shareholder with 43.6 per cent. Last month, it beat four other bidders, including a joint offer from Macquarie Bank and the state-run National Pension Service, to be named preferred bidder for the stake.

Separately, KTF, the mobile subsidiary of South Korean landline operator KT Corp, yesterday said it had teamed up with NTT DoCoMo of Japan to take stakes in U Mobile, a Malaysian telecoms company.

KTF and DoCoMo will pay $200m for a combined 33 per cent stake in U Mobile, one of four companies that will run third-generation mobile services in Malaysia.

Because their domestic markets are saturated, Kor-ean and Japanese telecoms companies are looking abroad for new sources of revenue. Last month SK Telecom teamed up with Providence Equity Partners, the US private equity group, to propose a $5bn investment in Sprint Nextel, the wireless carrier. Sprint rejected the offer.

Analysts said the Hanaro deal would help SK Telecom and Hanaro to strengthen their domestic competitiveness. Hanaro controls about 26 per cent of South Korea's broadband market and competes with market leader KT as a fixed-line operator.

The move reverses Do-CoMo's stance to avoid overseas markets after losing $9bn in botched international investments six years ago, when it took stakes in AT&T Wireless, KPN Mobile and Hutchison 3G UK Holdings at the height of the technology bubble.

DoCoMo reported a 21 per cent fall in first-half operating profit after losing subscribers to rivals Softbank and KDDI. DoCoMo has been the biggest loser from reforms last year that allowed consumers to keep their phone numbers when changing providers.

Источник: Financial Times

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