AsiaSat Shareholders Reject Privatization

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PARIS — AsiaSat shareholders on July 18 rejected a proposed privatization of the Hong Kong-based satellite fleet operator. Under Hong Kong regulations, the proposal’s backers will now be barred from making a fresh offer for 12 months unless the company’s management explicitly approves it, AsiaSat announced.

In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, AsiaSat said trading its stock would resume July 19. Trading was suspended July 18 pending the privatization vote.

Shareholders owning nearly 75 percent of AsiaSat’s stock had proposed to take AsiaSat private. But these shareholders were barred from voting. Only independent shareholders were allowed, and their vote was overwhelming: Nearly 94 percent of them voted against the proposal.

Shareholders had been offered 22 Hong Kong dollars per share in the initial offer, which the buyer — AsiaSat Management Stock Ownership Trust (MSOT) — subsequently increased to 23.50 Hong Kong dollars ($3.03). AsiaSat MSOT said this would be its final offer.

Hong Kong stock exchange rules forbid bidders from coming back with fresh offers once they have stated that their latest bid was final.

The offer of 23.50 Hong Kong dollars represented a premium of 24 percent over where AsiaSat stock had been trading in April when the privatization proposal was initially made.