Wong makes surprise bid for PCCW

Chinese businessman leaps on TV platform

BEIJING — Chinese businessman Nelson Wong Kam-fu has made a surprise takeover bid for PCCW, the Hong Kong telco group that operates the Now Broadband TV platform.

Last year the company received two complicated bids, including one from its tycoon owner, Richard Li Kar-tzai. The new one is just as strange.

Wong’s Smart Rich Energy Finance is a credit card security firm with a market value of some HK$2.1 billion ($270 million). At the price it says it’s offering, PCCW would be valued at $8.7 billion.

In a statement, PCCW said that it had not received “any credible offers.”

Wong, who claims to have the moral backing of mainland China’s Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, appears to be motivated by nationalism. If people in Hong Kong “don’t want this important strategic asset to fall into foreign hands, they should support my proposal,” he said. 

At a press conference, he said his bid would be financed by bank loans and an unspecified share issue.

Now Broadband TV is the world’s leading exponent of broadband TV, also known as Internet protocol TV. In June it had 818,000 pay TV subscribers, putting it within a whisker of traditional cable TV provider I-Cable’s 830,000.

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