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Li gives up on PCCW

April 24, 2009

Richard Li has thrown in the towel on a proposed $2bn buyout of PCCW, his Hong Kong telecommunications company after a protracted legal battle, saying the saga has been "unnecessarily divisive to society". Li and state-owned China Unicom, PCCW's second-largest shareholder, said they would let the controversial HK$4.50 a share offer lapse and pay investors a special dividend of HK$1.30 a share.

The decision came less than 24 hours after three appeal court judges unanimously blocked the deal, swayed by arguments from Hong Kong's market regulator that a shareholder vote in favour of the transaction had been manipulated through share splits. The Securities and Futures Commission alleged that a small number of investors distributed PCCW shares to colleagues, friends and family members in an effort to increase the number of votes in favour.

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