China Mobile is reportedly negotiating with Axiata Group Bhd, a leading mobile operator in Malaysia, to acquire a 20% stake in the Malaysian firm.
Calculating with Axiata's latest closing price, China Mobile needs to pay about USD3.7 billion for the 20% stake. So far, the two parties have not yet reached any agreement, according to reports in foreign media. Axiata and its controlling shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd are reluctant to sell that large amount of shares; meanwhile, the price offered by China Mobile is reportedly too low. Khazanah, a Malaysian national investment company, currently owns a 38.8% stake in Axiata.
In June 2014, China Mobile invested USD881 million in the acquisition of a 18% stake in True, a leading telecom carrier in Thailand. If China Mobile is able to reach a final agreement with Axiata to acquire the 20% stake for USD3.7 billion, it will be the largest overseas transaction of the Chinese telecom operator and it will also become the largest telecommunication transaction in Southeast Asia since 2007.
According to Axiata's website, the company operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia and it has over 250 million users. In addition, its subsidiary in India acquired a local operator for USD868 million this year.