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May 29, 2017

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Taiwan Star sets sights on acquiring Asia Pacific Telecom

TAIPEI -- Taiwan Star Cellular Corp. (台灣之星), a telecom arm of conglomerate Ting Hsin International Group (頂新), said it is seeking to acquire Asia Pacific Telecom Co. (亞太電) in a bid to consolidate the resources of the two companies.

Cliff Lai, president of Taiwan Star, said his company is sitting on huge funds and has a 4G license, a broad distribution network and plenty of talent for business expansion.

The merger with Asia Pacific Telecom is expected to create synergies between the two companies and boost Taiwan Star's competitive edge in the local market, Lai said.

While Taiwan Star has formally proposed to buy Asia Pacific Telecom, the local media has said other companies such as Japan-based high tech giant SoftBank Group and Hon Hai Group's Ambit Microsystems Corp. (鴻海國碁) are also eying Asia Pacific Telecom.

Earlier this year, Asia Pacific Telecom denied rumors of an acquisition deal with Taiwan Star but got a boost in the stock market as a result of the speculations.

Taiwan Star is one of two new telecom services providers in Taiwan that secured a 4G telecom license in October 2013, the other being Ambit Microsystems.

Four other telecom operators that already provide 3G services in Taiwan — Asia Pacific Telecom, Chunghwa Telecom Co. (中華電信), Far EasTone Telecommunications Co.(遠傳) and Taiwan Mobile Co. (台灣大哥大) — have also obtained 4G licenses.

Lai said a telecom operator needs large economies of scale to strengthen its competitive edge and a merger with Asia Pacific Telecom will help his company compete with Chunghwa Telecom, Far EasTone and Taiwan Mobile, the top three telecom firms in Taiwan.

In addition, the merger will allow the two companies to share their resources, including their base stations, and to gain greater bargaining power when buying cell phones, he said.

Taiwan Star recently acquired another local telecom operator Vibo Telecom Inc. (威寶), from Kinpo Electronics Inc. (金寶電子)and Compal Electronics Inc. (仁寶電腦).

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