PCCW Stake Sale On Track

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s PCCW (0008.HK) is on track to sell a stake in its telecom unit, and is eyeing opportunities for Internet Protocol TV in India, a senior official said on Thursday. Sources involved in the deal had told Reuters a deal expected to come later in the year for the telecom unit being spun off, could fetch $2.5 billion.

“As far as I know, we are on track,” Ian Stone, managing director of PCCW’s international projects, told Reuters, declining to give any more details.

Stone was speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference in New Delhi.

Sources have said seven private equity firms, Bain Capital, Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], MBK Partners, TPG, Providence Equity Partners, Apax Partners and Macquarie Group have made it past the first round.

The next round of bids is due in mid to late October.

PCCW, Hong Kong’s former monopoly fixed-line carrier, had said in May it planned to fold its core media and telecoms businesses into a separate firm called HKT and sell 45 percent of the new company.

PCCW is also eyeing opportunities in IPTV in India, where legislation was recently formulated.

“We are investigating… we are quite interested,” Stone said, adding they expected to firm up plans “over the next few months”.

PCCW’s broadband TV arm, called nowTV, is the world’s largest provider of IPTV.

The Indian cabinet last month approved new rules for IPTV, which involves delivery of television and video signals over a broadband network.

State-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam now provide IPTV services, with others, including top mobile services firms Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Reliance Communications Ltd (RLCM.BO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) also entering.

(Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy and Rakesh Sharma; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)