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Social Capital at Work in PCCW's Acquisition of Cable & Wireless HKT  
Product Ref: 01/119C Company: PCCW

Product Type: Case Industry: Telecommunication Services

Related Product(s): Teaching Note
In March and April 2000, a series of unusual decisions, involving billions of US dollars, were made by some of the biggest international companies and banks operating in Hong Kong. All those decisions centred on one 10-month old Internet-based business called Pacific Century CyberWorks Ltd (PCCW), which had no long-term track record and little cash. PCCW's most important asset seemed to be its charismatic Executive Chairman, Richard Li Tzar-kai, son of legendary tycoon Li Ka-shing. Nevertheless, London-based Cable & Wireless plc. (C&W) decided to sell Hong Kong's biggest telecommunications provider, Cable & Wireless HKT Ltd. (C&W HKT or HKT), to PCCW instead of rival bidder Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel). It was one of the biggest corporate mergers in Asia's history. Four top international banks were willing to underwrite the US$12 billion loan that PCCW needed for the takeover, making it the biggest syndicated loan ever in Asia. The four banks had also rallied about 30 enthusiastic banks to syndicate the loan. But the high expectations for PCCW were shattered within months. PCCW's share price was almost decimated in the twelve months after it reached a peak in early 2000. The Company was deep in debt and suffered huge losses in 2000. In hindsight, PCCW did not appear to be suitable to run a huge telecommunications company. SingTel had much more experience and capital. So why did the board of C&W choose PCCW? And why did the banks decide to lend it US$12 billion? This case can be used to examine how social capital affects business decision-making. It can also be used to introduce different types of business decision-making and to study the credit approval processes in investment banks. It moreover offers an introduction to how syndicated loans are set up by investment banks in the international financial market.
Functional Area : Human Resource Management
Strategy & General Management

Issues: Decision Making, Networking, Investment Banking, Mergers & Acquisitions
Length: Text: 22 pages
Exhibits: 9 pages
Country: Hong Kong SAR

Pub. Year: 2002 Level of Difficulty: 2
This product type is available in the following language(s):      English
Related Information: N/A
This case is UGC funded.
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