Minority shareholders in Singapore on Thursday overwhelmingly nixed Richard Li’s controversial HK$9.2 billion ($1.2 billion) sale of his 23% stake in PCCW, Hong Kong’s dominant telco and NOW Broadband TV operator.
The shares are held by Li’s Singapore-listed holding company Pacific Century Regional Developments and were to be bought by a group led by financier Francis Leung.
PCCW chairman Li was barred from voting on the sale after it was announced that his father, Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s richest man, was involved in the deal.
Leung would have kept 2.7%, which was in part funded by the elder Li, then Li’s Hong Kong and Canadian foundations would have taken 12% and Spain’s Telefonica would have had 8%.
If the deal had gone through, China Netcom Communications Group would have become PCCW’s major shareholder with its 20% stake.
“It is perhaps unfortunate that certain recent media reports and speculation have caused confusion among minority shareholders as to the rationale and overwhelming benefits of the transaction,” Leung said in a statement.
PCCW is one of the few congloms that offers a quadruple play of fixed and mobile telephony, broadband Internet and TV.
NOW, the world’s most successful Internet-based feevee platform, has more than 600,000 subscribers and is a major challenger to cablers in the pay TV sector.