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September 17, 2009

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Li ends bid to privatize PCCW

HONG Kong tycoon Richard Li has dropped his final appeal of a court decision that blocked him from buying out PCCW, Hong Kong's leading telecommunications company, bringing an end to the controversial privatization saga.

Pacific Century Regional Developments Limited, Li's Singapore-listed company, said in a document filed to the Singapore Stock Exchange late on Tuesday that it has decided to drop its challenge to the earlier ruling in Hong Kong's highest court after "careful deliberation."

Li's latest move marks the end of an epic privatization deal that involved a high-profile intervention by the local securities watchdog.

Li, the son of one of Asia's richest men, Li Ka-shing, attempted to take PCCW private for about US$2 billion earlier this year via PCRD and his other company Starvest.

But Li and his allies were forced to bow out of the controversial deal after a court sided with the Securities and Futures Commission, which claimed the shareholder vote approving the buyout offer appeared to have been rigged.

Li sought to appeal the ruling, but it was denied last month by the Court of Appeal.

PCRD had previously said it planned to make one last appeal against the court decision. However, it said in Tuesday's statement that it was in shareholders' best interests to end the matter.

"The Board continues to believe the case for appeal is strong," PCRD said in the statement. "But the... distraction resulting from proceeding with an appeal needs to be measured against the desire to focus on other business opportunities."



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