Hong Kong Internet holding company Pacific Century CyberWorks last week said it was still in discussions with Cable & Wireless PLC over a proposed purchase of Cable & Wireless HKT (C&W HKT), Hong Kong's incumbent telecommunications carrier.
The company made the statement to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in response to reported rumors that a deal had been reached.
Also Wednesday, the Hong Kong government denied reports that it has tried to block a sale of C&W HKT to Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), which last month announced it was in talks with Cable & Wireless. The territory's laws do not rule out foreign ownership of telecom carriers, the government said in a statement. The government also sought to dispel rumours that the Beijing government is influencing decisions about the ownership of C&W HKT, saying telecom regulation is under the control of the Hong Kong authorities.
PCCW, which has a high-flying stock based on ambitious plans to provide Internet access and content across Asia, is widely expected to bring in at least one other partner on any deal to take over C&W HKT. Speculation as to who that partner will be has run rampant in the region's press, with names ranging from Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa and UK-based Vodafone AirTouch PLC to the UK's Virgin Group, and even SingTel. PCCW has denied rumours concerning Hutchison and Vodafone.