Malaysian Operator U Mobile Said to Target $500 Million IPO

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(Nov 27): U Mobile Sdn., a Malaysian mobile service provider, is planning to raise about $500 million in an initial public offering in Kuala Lumpur, according to people familiar with the matter.

The wireless carrier has asked banks for proposals to help with the potential share sale, the people said. The company is set to pick advisers soon for a listing that could happen as early as the end of 2020, said the people who asked not to be named as the information is private.

U Mobile, Malaysia’s fourth-biggest mobile operator, is set to join home improvement retailer Mr D.I.Y. and bubble tea chain Loob Holding Sdn. in planning a listing in the country in the coming year. First-time share sales in Malaysia have rebounded and nearly tripled to $452 million so far in 2019, from $164 million for the same period last year. That’s still short of the $1.72 billion of offering seen for the full year in 2017.

“U Mobile is in the process of planning an IPO and we are targeting to go public next year,” Chief Executive Officer Wong Heang Tuck said in an emailed response to questions. “However, the exact timing would be largely dependent on market conditions.”

Singapore’s Straits Mobile Investments Pte. is U Mobile’s biggest shareholder with 35% stake, according to the company registry. Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state investment firm, holds Straits Mobile through a unit. Other shareholders of U Mobile include Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan and the ruler of Malaysia’s Johor state, who hold 21% and 11%, respectively.

U Mobile has 16% of the country’s wireless subscription market, behind Bhd., Maxis Bhd. and Celcom Axiata Bhd., according to a 2018 report by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.