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Hutchison's fixed-line biz draws interest from PEs, Hong Kong's HKBN - sources

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A consortium of private equity firms TPG Capital Management and MBK Partners, as well as telecoms firm HKBN Ltd, are preparing separate bids for the fixed-line phone unit of Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-Shing, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

[HONG KONG] A consortium of private equity firms TPG Capital Management and MBK Partners, as well as telecoms firm HKBN Ltd, are preparing separate bids for the fixed-line phone unit of Hong Kong's richest man, Li Ka-Shing, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Hong Kong Global Communications (HGC), a unit of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd, provides a range of fixed-line telecommunications services in Hong Kong and overseas for corporates and residential users.

The HGC business is expected to be valued at about US$1.5 billion, five sources told Reuters, requesting anonymity because the details had not been released publicly.

Two of the sources, however, said the deal could be valued at as much as 12 times the company's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$161 million in 2016, pushing the acquisition cost to as much as US$1.9 billion.

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HGC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment, while Hong Kong broadband and telecoms service provider HKBN, TPG and MBK declined to comment.

In October last year, the TPG-MBK consortium agreed to Hong Kong tycoon Peter Woo's Wharf Holdings Ltd' telecoms business for HK$9.5 billion (S$1.68 billion).

MBK Partners has a long track record of investing in Asian technology, media and telecommunications assets, including Taiwanese network TV operator China Network Systems, cable television network Gala TV and Japanese software maker Yayoi.

TPG has also invested in a wide range of telecom companies in Asia, including telecommunications service provider Asia Netcom (now known as Pacnet) and Japan Telecom (now known as SoftBank Telecom).

REUTERS

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