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HTHKH arranges to sell HGC unit to I Squared for HK$14.5b

HTHKH arranges to sell HGC unit to I Squared for HK4.5bHutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings (HTHKH) has arranged to sell its global fixed line division Hutchison Global Communications (HGC) to global infrastructure investment company I Squared Capital.

The HK$14.5 billion ($1.86 billion) acquisition of a 100% stake in HGC is expected to close by October. It will be conducted through I Squared's wholly-owned subsidiary Asia Cube Global  Communications.

HGC operates a 1.4 million kilometer fiber network in Hong Kong that connects to over 14,200 buildings, as well as a domestic Wi-Fi network consisting of over 25,000 hotspots.

The company's international network covers four land routes to mainland China integrated with the nation's big three state-owned operators. The company serves residential, corporate, fixed and mobile operator and OTT service provider customers.

HTHKH has revealed plans to use the proceeds of the transaction for purposes including investing in its mobile business. HGC will continue to act as a key supplier of fixed-line services to HTHKH.

“While it is true that our mobile business is operating in a competitive environment, we have been directing our mobile strategies to meet challenges of the industry as well as developing innovative products and services. We are committed to focusing on our core mobile business going forward,” HTHKH said in a statement.

“As a premier global hub for commerce and telecommunications, Hong Kong benefits from innovative products and world class services. With I Squared Capital’s investment, HGC will continue to provide the same quality of service that mobile telecommunication providers, corporate and residential customers have come to expect,” I Squared capital partner Gautam Bhandari added.

“Fresh capital will also enable the company to develop new solutions to meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed information infrastructure throughout the region and beyond.”

I Squared was one of at least two bidders for HGC's assets, with a consortium of private equity firms TPG Capital and MBK Partners having also submitted an offer. While operators HKBN and SmarTone had reportedly been considering bidding, they elected not to due to concerns over valuations and potential antitrust regulatory hurdles.

First published in TelecomAsia