SPH and SPH REIT request trading halt

Chess game. Photo by VD Photography on UnsplashChess game. Photo by VD Photography on Unsplash

Both Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and SPH REIT requested trading halts Monday evening, saying it was pending the release of an announcement. 

No further details were disclosed.

However, market watchers have been awaiting developments on the rival bids to acquire SPH from Keppel Corp. and consortium Cuscaden Peak. 

Cuscaden Peak’s bid — which values SPH at around S$3.9 billion — will give shareholders the choice of either S$2.40 a share, including S$1.602 in cash and 0.782 SPH REIT unit valued at S$0.798 each, or an all-cash offer of S$2.36, based on unit prices at the time the offer was made.  

Keppel Corp. has bid S$2.351 a share for SPH, in a cash-and-share offer, including S$0.868 in cash and 0.596 Keppel REIT unit and 0.782 SPH REIT unit.

In mid-February, SPH received the go-ahead from the Singapore court to convene a meeting for its shareholders to vote on the Cuscaden Peak bid, short-circuiting Keppel’s efforts to call a vote by SPH shareholders on its competing bid. 

Keppel bid on ice?

Keppel had filed a notice of arbitration filed with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) after SPH had moved to terminate consideration of Keppel’s offer. 

SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung said recently that his company considers the Cuscaden Peak bid as the only one currently on the table. 

David Gerald, who is CEO of SIAS, has also recently said that regardless of the outcome of arbitration, Keppel’s bid for SPH would not be put before SPH’s shareholders.

Who is Cuscaden Peak?

The consortium bidding against Keppel, called Cuscaden Peak, includes Tiga Stars, a wholly owned subsidiary of tycoon Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties, and Adenium, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek portfolio company CLA Real Estate Holdings, as well as Mapletree Investments‘ indirect wholly owned subsidiary Mapletree Fortress. Mapletree Investments is wholly owned by Singapore state-owned investment company Temasek.

Cuscaden Peak is 40 percent owned by Tiga Stars, 30 percent by Adenium and 30 percent by Mapletree Fortress. Tiga Stars is 70 percent owned by Hotel Properties, with the remainder held by Como Holdings, which is ultimately owned by Ong Beng Seng, who is the controlling shareholder of Singapore-listed Hotel Properties. Adenium is wholly owned by CLA Real Estate Holdings, which is an independently managed portfolio company of Temasek.

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