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The competition for goods is gaining traction in Singapore

Singapore may be hesitant to speak out, but the city sees a great opportunity to try to seize the crown of the world economic capital Asia and its Hong Kong counterpart who is plagued by political disputes and epidemics.

More to come. That’s it opened its borders for tourists and business travelers from countries including the UK, US, Canada and many European countries. Its administrators have set up buildings aimed at attracting banks and property managers in Hong Kong and enacting laws that would allow the city to become the cryptocurrency capital of the world.

But the part that is missing is for Singapore to show that its market can be an exciting forum for action. The opportunity to heat up on this has now come with a seizure competition that can be decided in the end with two businesses separated by its value and 0.001 of Singapore dollar. This is a matter of concern for the small landowners.

The focus is on Singapore Press Holdings, a local media and property management company that manages valuable radio assets, such as the Straits Times, and real estate.

In May, SPH said it would split its money-making business into a non-profit company, but abandon what is not media. This attracted the interest of Keppel, a Singaporean company with a 20 percent stake in Temasek.

Keppel offered the opportunity to purchase and maintain a private SPH non-media business, including liquid products. The SPH, which said it had considered other advertisements, also recommended Keppel’s allocation of funds as a viable option. Participants approved a plan to separate the media business in September and Keppel’s call appears to be over. The whole thing, say some participants, has a high opinion in Singapore: “pre-arranged marriage”, as one puts it, organized under the supervision of traditional and protective parents.

From the outset, however, Keppel’s lease was similar to that of a few other shareholders, who felt that it would not hurt the economy. The payments made by Keppel appear to be complex, with a few SPH shareholders telling the Financial Times. Some shareholders believe that if the media reforms are considered, the contributions will remain below the SPH value per share of $ 2.18 per share on August 31. The cost of its investment has grown, especially as the Covid-19 has grown.

Around the back of the deal is the ongoing question in Singapore over trade deals – an issue raised directly by a reporter at a recent conference the council backed Keppel’s call for. The role of Lee Boon Yang, former SPH chairman and former Keppel chairman until April, was questioned. The parties said Lee “did not participate in any part”.

Despite the frustration shown by FT secretly in relation to the alliance, the amount of sound effects has been limited. The players involved, say some shareholders, were key to Singapore for a major public debate to take place.

Now things have changed: the overall interest rate came in at 0.001 cents more than Keppel’s initial investment. The second donation came from Cuscaden Peak, a joint venture with a multi-billion dollar hotel owned by Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties and two corporations affiliated with Temasek, CLA and Mapletree.

SPH shareholders remain concerned that both of them do not respect the company, the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) said this week.

Some parties are still free to offer the best if they are interested. But the owners of the SPH would never benefit from a “war” that, to date, has been marred by the slightest difference in the terms of the two organizations that have shared links to the top representative.

SPH said it was engaging Keppel and Cuscaden “as part of its fundraising activities for all shareholders”. “If there is a very good idea that has not been solicited, the agency will review the merits,” it said. Keppel and Cuscaden declined to comment.

The controversy is probably over – Keppel has until November 15 to respond with a “good idea”. But this raises an important question. Would the shareholders have a higher chance if everything was going on somewhere in the spirit realm of M&A?

mercedes.ruehl@ft.com


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