Singapore Telecom: If You Can't Beat 'Em...

It may marry its Hong Kong rival

For such a cautious place as Singapore, the boldness of the move surprised everyone. As citizens headed home on Friday, Jan. 21, the government announced it would remove restrictions on foreign investment in its telecom market by Apr. 1--two years ahead of schedule. When they returned to work on Monday, they were hit by an even bigger bombshell: State-controlled Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. was negotiating a "merger of equals" with Cable & Wireless HKT, the former telecom monopoly of Hong Kong. Provided a rival bid for HKT doesn't thwart the deal, it will be the biggest cross-border Asian merger ever. With a market capitalization of nearly $60 billion, the combined companies also will be one of Asia's biggest telcos.

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