HKT, PCCW merger making progress

The board of Hong Kong carrier Cable & Wireless HKT said it is making "positive progress" in merger discussions with Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW), the company announced on Friday.

After a meeting on Thursday updating the board on the progress of the merger, the C&W HKT board of directors directed management to "proceed as soon as practicable to finalise the required documentation," the company said in a statement.

Last February, PCCW, a Hong Kong-based Internet investment company, proposed to buy all the shares of C&W HKT, offering an all-share option and a cash-and-stock option. The deal has been valued at between $US29.6 billion and $US32.3 billion.

The board of C&W HKT's majority shareholder, UK-based Cable & Wireless (C&W) PLC, approved the deal that month and sent the bid to its shareholders for approval in March. The shareholders are set to vote on the proposed merger on June 13.

The C&W HKT board will release a detailed position paper outlining the terms of the offer to shareholders on or about May 20, C&W HKT said.

But Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is said to be looking to throw a wrench into the deal. SingTel, which withdrew a previous bid for C&W HKT last February, is in negotiations with a number of Chinese firms in an attempt to find a mainland partner with whom to renew its merger attempts, according to a report in Friday's Financial Times.

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