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Keppel Makes ‘Final Offer’ for Singapore Press Holdings

Latest move counters rival, all-cash offer by Cuscaden Peak consortium, majority owned by companies linked to state fund Temasek


Keppel chief executive Loh Chin Hua said the new offer is "a compelling and win-win proposition". Photo: Reuters

 

Singapore’s Keppel Corporation on Tuesday issued a “final and irrevocable” offer to take over the non-media assets of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), the two companies announced in a joint statement.

The improved offer  of S$2.35 per share is 12% higher than Keppel’s original bid for SPH announced on August 2 and a 9% premium to SPH’s last trading price. The new offer – a mix of cash and Reit shares – implies a total equity value for SPH of $3.8 billion.

The move counters a rival, all-cash offer of S$2.10 per share made on October 28 by a consortium known as Cuscaden Peak, which is majority owned by companies linked to Temasek, the state fund.

Keppel said it would not issue an increased offer. “SPH acknowledges that Keppel’s final offer is superior to the competing offer from Cuscaden Peak and will undertake to call for the SPH scheme meeting,” Keppel said in a statement.

 

‘Win-Win Proposition’

Cuscaden Peak is 40% held by Tiga Stars, a unit of businessman Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties, 30% by Temasek unit CLA Real Estate Holdings; and 30% by Mapletree, which is also Temasek-linked.

Keppel chief executive Loh Chin Hua said the new offer is “a compelling and win-win proposition” for both Keppel and SPH shareholders.

“The offer to take SPH private could potentially add 25 Singapore cents to Keppel’s valuation and unlock more value through asset monetisation,” DBS analyst Pei Hwa Ho said.

SPH will hold a meeting for shareholders to decide on Keppel’s scheme by December 8. Should both Keppel and SPH shareholders approve the deal, SPH shareholders could expect to receive payment by mid-January.

In May, SPH said it would separate its cash-burning media business into a not-for-profit company, but would leave its portfolio of non-media assets intact, which immediately attracted Keppel’s attention.

 

  • George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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