Gulf Energy Development, a Thai-based power generator, is looking to buy some of Thaicom’s assets, but not its satellite business. There are problems however; despite offering $5.4 billion for the assets, Gulf does not want to acquire the whole of Thaicom.
The bid emerged on April 19th. In essence Gulf wants to buy Thaicom-backed Intouch Holdings (which is Thailand’s largest cellular operator) which includes Advanced Info Services (AIS). Gulf is asking the Thai securities regulator to grant permission for the complex purchase to proceed.
Singapore’s SingTel is a major shareholder in Intouch (21 per cent) and has a 23 percent stake in AIS. It says it is reviewing its options.
One local analyst described the move as a “wild and opportunistic” attempt for Gulf Energy to diversify.