Takeover offer for M1 turns unconditional as Axiata tenders stake

M1 retail outlet at Orchard Road In SingaporeM1 retail outlet at Orchard Road In Singapore. Image taken pre-Covid

Konnectivity’s bid for M1 has become unconditional after it one of the Singapore telco’s major shareholders, Malaysia-based Axiata, tendered its shares, bringing its holding to more than 50 percent.

Previously, the market had speculated that Axiata, which held 28.6 percent of M1, might launch a competing offer for the Singapore telco.

As of the close of business on Friday, Konnectivity had received valid acceptances of 75.5 percent of M1’s maximum potential issued share capital, the filing said.

Konnectivity, which is a special purpose vehicle set up by M1 shareholders Singapore Press Holdings and Keppel Corp., made a S$2.06 a share voluntary conditional general offer for the Singapore telco last year.

The bid for M1 aimed to gain control of at least 50 percent of the telco to more easily engage in a “transformational” restructuring, which would likely include lower dividends, Konnectivity has previously said.

Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corp., said his company was pleased Keppel and SPH would be able to steer M1 during a “critical period.”

“The increasingly challenging and competitive market conditions in the Singapore telecommunications sector requires M1 to take bold steps to transform,” Loh said, adding Keppel continued to see long-term value in the telco.

He said M1 would complement Keppel’s efforts on sustainable urbanization.

“With Keppel growing its retail businesses in gas, electricity and urban logistics, bringing M1 into the mix will provide opportunities for us
to cross-sell and offer more innovative and compelling products and services to the market,” Loh said.

The offer for M1 has been extended until 4 March to give shareholders another 14 days to consider whether to accept the bid, Konnectivity said in a filing to SGX on Friday.


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