The Ting Hsin International Group confirmed that several potential buyers have approached regarding their interests of acquiring the Taiwan Star Telecom Co, amid growing speculation that the telecommunications company is the food conglomerate’s next target in its efforts to exit non-core businesses in Taiwan.
Ting Hsin’s confirmation was related to a report from the Chinese-language Economic Daily News on Jan. 26, saying that the group is planning to sell its 52% stake in Taiwan Star, and is expected to cut a deal by the end of this quarter or early next quarter.
“More than one company that has expressed an interest in buying the group’s share of Taiwan Star, but we have yet made any decision as of now,” said Ted Chia (賈先德), spokesman for Ting Hsin.
Without identifying those potential buyers, Chia, meanwhile, said that recent newspaper coverage on the issue could heat up the competition between potential buyers.
The group’s next step, however, has been highlighted since the group pledged to sell its non-core local businesses after being embroiled in a spate of food scares last year.
Taiwan Star currently has 160,000 4G subscribers and 1.44 million 3G users after merging with Vibo Telecom in 2013.
Economic Daily News reported that Taiwan Star’s major shareholders, including Cathay Financial Holding (TPE: 2882), CTBC Financial Holding (TPE: 2891) and Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co (TPE: 2392), are trying to increase their holdings to safeguard the telecom operator’s position. In the meantime, Chunghwa Telecom Co (TPE: 2412), which is the nation’s biggest telecommunications operator, and its competitor Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (TPE: 4904) are interested in acquiring Taiwan Star to expand their 4G market.
When approached, Chunghwa said it was “market speculation” while Far EasTone denied that the company is interested in buying any stake in Taiwan Star.