PCCW's Father and Son Melodrama

Posted by: Brian Bremner on November 30, 2006

The father and son drama at PCCW (Hong Kong’s biggest telecom player) has taken yet another unusual plot twist. On Nov. 30, shareholders of Pacific Century Regional Development voted against a proposal that would have shifted a 23% stake owned by PCCW Chairman Richard Li to an investor group led by well-known Hong Kong financier Francis Leung, Spanish telecom concern Telefónica and Li Ka-shing (Richard Li’s father.)

Billionaire Li Ka-Shing is arguably the most powerful exec in Hong Kong and controls his own whose telecom, ports, property, and retail holdings that span the world from Beijing to Tel Aviv. Li had been interested in selling his stake and moving on to other things, until his father surfaced as part of the financial backing for the $1.2 stock deal. Then he had a change of heart. The two aren’t on friendly terms and haven’t spoken for some time, a family clash that is the talk of the town in Hong Kong. Go here for details on the entire saga.

The question now is what will Li do next? PCCW shareholders have to wonder about his commitment to leading the telecom company, which also has interests in broadband, Internet-TV programming, and other businesses. Finding other buyers won’t be easy, either. Leung after all is a well-known name in Hong Kong finance and a former Citigroup banker. He turned to Li Ka-shing for financial backing when it become clear that raising $1.2 billion was turning into a struggle. This tale is far from over.

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