Malaysian billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan is considering an initial public offering of the country’s largest pay-television broadcaster, Astro All Asia Networks Plc (ASTR), according to a company official.
Astro has been approached by investment bankers about a possible share sale, though substantive discussions have yet to begin, said the official, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private. The Kuala Lumpur-based company could raise about $1.5 billion in an IPO by as soon as the end of this year, said two other people with knowledge of the matter.
Astro was taken private in 2010 by Ananda Krishnan, Malaysia’s second-richest man according to Forbes. Two other companies he bought out have since sold stock to the public after being restructured. Mobile phone operator Maxis Bhd. (MAXIS) raised $3.6 billion in a 2009 IPO after stripping out international operations. Bumi Armada Bhd. (BAB), Malaysia’s biggest supplier of support vessels for the oil and gas industry, sold $882 million of shares in July last year.
Maxis, which was the country’s biggest IPO at the time, has risen 26 percent from its offer price. Bumi Armada has surged 45 percent since its listing.
At $1.5 billion, Astro would be Malaysia’s third-largest IPO, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd. (PCHEM)’s $4.8 billion IPO in November 2010 was the country’s biggest first-time sale.
Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn., Malaysia’s biggest plantation company, and Integrated Healthcare Holdings Sdn., Asia’s largest hospital operator, are also planning IPOs in Malaysia, people with knowledge of the matter said last year.
When a group led by Ananda Krishnan and Khazanah Nasional Bhd. purchased Astro, the deal valued the company at $2.8 billion. The buyers planned to accelerate Astro’s expansion in markets including China and India.
Ananda Krishnan also took gaming and power group Tanjong Plc and satellite operator Measat Global Plc private in 2010. 1Malaysia Development Bhd. agreed this month to buy Krishnan’s power assets for $2.8 billion.
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