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Keppel plans to buy SPH for $ 1.6 billion after media spin-off

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Keppel plans to buy SPH for $ 1.6 billion after media spin-off

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(Bloomberg) – Keppel Corp Ltd. has offered to buy Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. for S $ 2.2 billion ($ 1.6 billion) to expand the conglomerate’s business in shopping malls, student housing and senior housing.

The proposed deal, which is expected to be completed in December, would come after SPH splits up its media assets. Keppel plans to delist as part of the transaction, the companies said in a statement Monday.

For Keppel, backed by Temasek Holdings Pte and with operations ranging from platform construction to infrastructure and renewable energy, the move is in line with its 10-year plan to provide solutions for “sustainable urbanization,” he said. The mergers are part of the group’s efforts to unlock value in its asset portfolio.

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Keppel is bidding through a combination of S $ 1.08 billion in cash and Keppel REIT units worth S $ 1.17 billion, the company said in a Singapore Stock Exchange presentation. The total consideration, including a distribution of SPH REIT shares, equals S $ 2,099 per share, which implies a total equity value of SPH of S $ 3.4 billion.

Trading in SPH shares was halted prior to the announcement. The stock last closed at S $ 1.88. Keppel’s shares were also paralyzed.

SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung said the result is the result of a months-long strategic review process to solicit bids from interested parties. “With Keppel’s privatization offer, shareholders now have the opportunity to realize the value of their SPH shares at a premium,” it said in a statement.

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SPH announced plans in May to convert its media business to a nonprofit entity amid declining advertising revenue. Last year, the group posted its first recorded loss in a full year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg dating back to 1990. Its media business accounted for more than half of its revenue, while ownership accounted for about 38%, as the data shows.

If the acquisition is successful, Keppel will also explore unlocking the value of SPH’s assets through possible new REIT listings or monetizing certain liquid investments “when the time is right,” the company said.

Keppel said last week that it expects to reach the upper end of its goal of unlocking assets of between S $ 3 billion and S $ 5 billion by the end of 2023, which could include mergers or divestitures. It is also in talks to merge its offshore marine unit with Sembcorp Marine Ltd. and evaluate offers to sell its logistics business as it shifts its focus to becoming a renewable energy and asset management developer.

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Under its 10-year transformation plan called Vision 2030 unveiled last year, initiatives include building floating infrastructure to provide easier and cheaper access to energy and data center development. Keppel also wants to leverage its land bank to improve its return on assets and seek growth in M1 Ltd.’s digital solutions business.

Keppel has monetized more than S $ 2.3 billion in assets since October, of which about half of the transactions have been completed, and had received about S $ 1.15 billion in cash at the end of June, the company said in the statement. .

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