PCCW ditches privatization effort

Hong Kong telco PCCW has stopped its $2.1 billion bid to go private, the company said in a statement released Thursday. 

PCCW Chairman Richard Li, leader of the effort, said he had decided not to pursue the bid further. A Hong Kong appeals court had blocked the move on Wednesday, leaving taking the case to the Court of Final Appeal the only remaining option for Li and his partners.  

Li has been trying to either sell or take the firm private for three years and said he was "disappointed by the Wednesday court ruling.  The case had become a burden to the company and "unnecessarily divisive to society."

Wednesday's court appeal pivoted around whether Li and buyout partner China Netcom had rigged shareholder voting in February by distributing a large amount of company stock at the last minute to a group of employees at an insurance company. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) had fought to block the deal.

PCCW shareholders will instead get a special dividend of 17 cents per share in lieu of a final 2008 dividend.

For more:
- AFP has the story

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PCCW: Judge calls buyout offer "outrageous"
Earlier, PCCW $2B deal still on court hold
Still earlier, Hong Kong financial regulators moving to block PCCW buyout
Criticism mounts against PCCW privatization bid - FierceTelecom

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