Hong Kong's PCCW announced a much-anticipated deal to sell a 20% stake in the company to China Netcom, the mainland's second-largest fixed-line carrier. The sale, described by both companies as a "strategic alliance", prices the stake at US$1bn, or HK$5.90 (US$0.76) a share, a premium of 25.5% over PCCW's closing price Wednesday before trading was suspended. Announcing the sale, PCCW Chairman Richard Li said the deal would "lay the foundation for PCCW to participate in the high potential and fast-growing telecommunications market in China." Under the deal PCCW will earmark up to HK$5bn (US$641m) to pursue business opportunities in China while the two companies will also establish a jointly managed business development committee to identify other investment opportunities in China. The sale is expected to be completed in late March after PCCW has secured shareholder approval.