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[HONG KONG] Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd is in talks with a consortium of mainland Chinese companies to sell a HK$160 billion (S$27.7 billion) stake in its ports business, the South China Morning Post reported on Friday.
The paper, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, said Hutchison was negotiating with China Merchants Holdings (International), state-owned COSCO Pacific, China Shipping Terminal Development and State Development & Investment Corp to sell a 40 per cent stake.
Asked about the report, a Hutchison spokesman told Reuters: "The rumour is unfounded." Reuters could not immediately reach China Merchants, COSCO Pacific and China Shipping for comment.
The newspaper said the sale talks, which began in the middle of last year, have more muted recently after mR Li revealed a massive restructure of his business empire last month. The buyers also found Mr Li's price "excessively overvalued," the report added.
Hutchison holds an 80 per cent stake in Hutchison Port Holdings, the world's largest port container.