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StarHub and M1 potential merger said to be back on

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew • 3 min read
StarHub and M1 potential merger said to be back on
Will StarHub and M1 ever merge? Photo: Bloomberg
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Local telco operators StarHub CC3 -

and M1 are said to be back to exploring a potential merger of their businesses, according to TMT Finance, citing five sources familiar to the matter.

According to three sources, ST Telemedia-backed StarHub is working with a US bulge bracket bank to work on a potential merger, but it is unclear if Keppel-backed M1 is working with a bank on this. StarHub is 56.3% owned by various Temasek portfolios, including ST Telemedia and STT Communications, while M1 is also indirectly owned by Temasek, through Temasek’s 21.3% stake in Keppel.

Discussions on this matter is understood to be in early stages. Hence, there is no guaranteeing that a deal will surface from this.

On the matter, a StarHub spokesperson says: “StarHub is executing an ambitious multi-year organic transformation. In addition to this we continue to evaluate strategic opportunities to enhance shareholder value. If and when any definitive agreement or material event occurs relating to such opportunities, we will make disclosures in accordance with our listing obligations.”

StarHub had embark on a business transformation called DARE+ back in November 2021. With DARE+, StarHub intends to achieve sustainable revenue growth and potential growth in dividends, with superior product margins from the continued introduction of new 5G products and solutions, further operating cost savings through digitalisation and migration from legacy systems, and progressive declines in fixed cost through sustained evolution of operating models.

Its goal for DARE+ is to double down on digital across everything StarHub does, accelerating value creation, realising growth without frontiers, and delivering an endless continuum of experiences that enrich customers’ lives.

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To recap, in April 2023 the two companies were reported to be working on a network optimisation deal, which could include active network sharing. The deal could see the dup setting up a spectrum joint venture (JV) and share assets, including spectrum, equipment, as well as manpower to better manage costs.

Sources at the time cautioned that the deal was not a merger as no ownership would exchange hands. However, sources also said that the process could be a precursor to a merger deal. The companies engaged management consulting firm FTI Consulting to assist with the spectrum JV. However, financial advisers had not been appointed at the time, sources said.

In 2020, the two were also reportedly in talks for a merger, but the CEO back then, Peter Kaliaropoulos had denied.

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M1 and StarHub are also no strangers to working with each other, being two of four telcos in Singapore. The two have also previously formed a consortium to boost their 5G spectrum in Singapore together to increase coverage and capacity of mobile operators’ existing 5G networks.

As at 4.10pm, shares in StarHub are trading at $1.17.

 

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