The board of Taiwanese telecoms operator Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) has approved a plan to merge with 4G newcomer Ambit Microsystems via a share swap deal. In a statement filed to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the company says that under the merger every Ambit share can be exchanged for a 0.4975 share in APT. Upon completion, Ambit’s parent company Foxconn Technology Group – registered on the Taiwanese stock market under the name Hon Hai Precision Industry – will see its stake in APT upped to 23% from 14% today; it took its initial stake holding via a new share offering last month.
In May this year Foxconn Technology Group moved to purchase a stake in APT for TWD11.6 billion (USD390 million). As reported at the time by CommsUpdate, Foxconn agreed pay TWD20 per share for a total of 582.9 million shares in APT via a private placement, ahead of the planned full merger. However, the plan faces a stumbling block in that the two companies hold a combined 30MHz in the 700MHz and 900MHz bands – exceeding the 25MHz limit set by the National Communication Commission. To assuage regulatory concerns and smooth the deal, Ambit reportedly commenced talks over a potential bandwidth swap with another Taiwanese player, Far EasTone. According to the China Post, Far EasTone will initiate a trade with Ambit under which it will swap its A2 frequency block in the 700MHz band for the A3 block in the same band held by Ambit. Once complete, this would mean that both operators would benefit from operating adjoining blocks of the 4G network. With the deal between the two companies also said to include Far EasTone acquiring 5MHz of bandwidth from Ambit in addition to the frequency swap, it has been suggested that this will resolve regulatory issues related to the latter’s acquisition of APT.