Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

StarHub, M1 Stocks Rise as M1 Shareholders Said to Explore Sale

Singapore’s smallest publicly traded telecommunications company M1 Ltd. rose for a second day after its major shareholders said Friday they are undertaking a strategic review on their investments in the phone operator. Shares of rival StarHub Ltd. and the M1 owners also rose.

Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Ltd., Axiata Group Bhd. and Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. are exploring options including a sale of M1 as the city state gears up for a new entrant into the wireless market, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

M1 shares rose 0.9 percent to S$2.21 as of 12:40 a.m., on almost 5 times its 3-month daily average volume. The stock jumped 7.9 percent on Friday. The operator has slumped 21 percent from a peak in July 2016 after it reported a drop in profit.

Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation climbed 2.9 percent, while Malaysian wireless carrier, Axiata, the biggest shareholder of M1, added 1.6 percent on the Kuala Lumpur bourse and Singapore Press Holdings rose 0.6 percent.

The potential sale of M1 comes as the city state prepares for the roll-out of a fourth mobile operator with TPG Telecom Ltd. due to begin wireless services in the coming months. The regulator has said it wants to introduce more competition in the city state to bring down phone bills and improve services.

“There is no assurance that any transaction will materialize from such strategic review or that any definitive or binding agreement will be reached,” Singapore Press Holdings said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange on Friday. Axiata also released a similar statement to the Bursa Malaysia exchange.

For analyst views on the potential deal, read our street wrap here

The three major M1 owners have jointly appointed Morgan Stanley Asia (Singapore) Pte. as their financial adviser in the review.

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