Hong Kong-listed HKBN, the city’s second-largest provider of residential broadband internet, seeks to purchase WTT in an all-share deal from buyout firms MBK Partners Ltd. and TPG Capital Management LP. WTT, previously known as Wharf T&T, was sold to the private equity duo two years ago for $1.2 billion by Hong Kong conglomerate The Wharf Ltd.
In a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, HKBN said it expected the deal, which is subject to shareholder approval and antitrust clearance in Hong Kong, to close in the first quarter of 2019. MBK and TPG will each own 11.66 percent in HKBN once the deal is finalized next year.
HKBN said the proposed combination is complementary, as WTT mostly deals with large enterprise clients, while HKBN focuses on small and medium-sized clients. Under Hong Kong’s competition regime, telecommunications is the only sector where mergers are subject to regulatory approval.
Latham corporate partners Simon Cooke and Terris Tang in Hong Kong are advising regular client HKBN on the deal. Cooke serves as global co-chair of the private equity practice at Latham, which on Thursday finalized its new leadership structure.
In 2016, Latham advised HKBN on an $84 million acquisition of Hong Kong developer New World Development Co. Ltd.’s telecommunications business. In 2015, Latham served as underwriters’ counsel to HKBN on its $750 million Hong Kong listing.
Clifford Chance partner Andrew Whan in Hong Kong, where he heads the Magic Circle firm’s Asia corporate and M&A practice, is representing MBK and TPG along with Sydney-based antitrust partner Dave Poddar. In 2016, Whan also acted for the private equity firms on their $1.2 billion acquisition of WTT.
Additional reporting by Anna Zhang in Hong Kong.