Temasek-owned Singtel says no "impending deal" to sell Australian unit Optus

Temasek-owned Singtel says no "impending deal" to sell Australian unit Optus

FILE PHOTO: A man looks out of the window under a Singtel signage at their head office in Singapore February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Southeast Asia’s largest telecom operator, reiterated on Wednesday that there was no “impending deal” to divest its Australian telecom unit Optus.

Singtel, majority-owned by Singapore sovereign investor Temasek, in March denied an AFR report that it was offloading Optus to Canada’s Brookfield for up to $12 billion.

Reuters had reported that the company was in advanced talks over a “significant” stake sale to Brookfield, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Shares of Singtel were down 3.15% at S$2.46 on Wednesday before trading was halted pending an announcement.

The halt was placed after multiple reports said talks had ended for Singtel to divest a 20% stake in Optus as the parties were unable to agree on certain terms involving the valuation and price aspect of the possible transaction.

Singtel’s Singaporean operations and Optus account for half of its business, according to its annual report. The rest is made up of minority stakes in several telecom operators including India’s Bharti Airtel, Indonesia’s Telkomsel and the Philippines’ Globe Telecom.

“The group would like to advise shareholders of Singtel and potential investors to exercise caution in their review of any media reports relating to Optus in the absence of any definitive announcements when dealing with the shares of the company,” Singtel said in a statement.

In November, Optus drew public ire after a 12-hour network blackout affected more than 10 million Australians. The incident prompted an investigation, the departure of then Optus CEO and an A$1.5 million ($977,100.00) fine.


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