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Business deals

Singapore's Keppel and Straits Times to buy mobile carrier M1

Top investor Axiata of Malaysia accepts takeover offer

The M1 logo adorns a mobile phone shop in Singapore.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Conglomerate Keppel Corp. and Straits Times publisher Singapore Press Holdings will together acquire a majority stake in Singapore's third-largest mobile carrier, M1, with top shareholder Axiata Group agreeing to unload its interest.

Axiata has accepted the offer and will "exit its investment in Singapore," the Malaysian telecommunications company said Friday.

The 1.65 billion ringgit ($404 million) deal is expected to deliver a 126.5 million ringgit gain to Axiata, which plans to apply the proceeds toward its digital investments. Keppel and Singapore Press had announced their offer last September.

The duo's roughly one-third interest in M1 will rise to more than 60% after Axiata sells its 28.7% stake.

M1 plans to accelerate its shift to 5G ultrahigh-speed data service under the wing of the two compatriots amid intense competition from such rivals as StarHub and Singapore Telecommunications, or Singtel.

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