Lots of rumors about the long-awaited telecom restructuring this month. Interestingly, it was sparked by a Credit Suisse report that cited Yang Hua, sec-gen of the TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance, as saying that the central government could announce a decision on 3G licensing “within days.” According to Reuters, the report also said the State Council would meet this week to finalize restructuring plans, and that an official announcement would be made soon.
All the I-bank analyst reports I’ve ever read have been pretty dry (Jonathan Anderson at UBS excepted!), and certainly not a source of exciting breaking news. Now, I’m interested in getting my hands on a copy of the CS report.
Then Marbridge Consulting’s daily newsletter provided a slew of Chinese-language media stories circulating the same rumor. Sina Tech regurgitated the Credit Suisse news. Tencent Tech reported on internal moves at the telcos suggestive of restructuring plans.
SCMP added fuel to the fire, with a report citing anonymous sources claiming that the plan had already been confirmed at a State Council meeting in Beijing last Friday. It said that another meeting this week would be held to work out implementation and management issues.
“The proposal is being discussed and the officials are going to decide senior management at the operators,” a source said yesterday.
Yesterday, I also noticed that Isaac Mao’s Twitter feed contained a message about a share-swap between Unicom and Netcom, although a check through HKEX and SEC filings yesterday didn’t reveal any announcements about it.
Stocks of China Telecom have risen because it’s expected to get a mobile operating license after the restructuring, while China Mobile shares dropped.
The Reuters story also said that Yang, Credit Suisse’s source, rebutted the report.
“It could be early, it could be late, but it won’t be soon,” Yang told Reuters in an email provided in response to questions.
So – the rumors continue to build. It’s worth noting, though, that this restructuring has been years in the making. Nothing may come out of it this time.