Khazanah likely to announce buyer of its stake in Proton today

PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd would likely be making an announcement today on the sale of its 42.7% stake in Proton Holdings Bhd, banking sources said, adding that the deal would require that the buyer make an offer to buy out the rest of Proton’s shareholders.

“The deal being struck is beneficial to all parties, including minority shareholders of Proton, as there will be a general offer for the remaining shares,” said a source.

It is learnt that the buyer of the stake is a local party.

Speculation is rife that the front-runner for the takeover of Proton is DRB-Hicom Bhd and that the take-over price is likely to be between RM5.50 and RM6 per share.

One banking source said that Malayan Banking Bhd would be providing most of the funding for the deal.

Another industry source familiar with the deal said the buyer had a comprehensive bid to consolidate the domestic automobile industry and to steer the national carmaker into profitability via strategic foreign partners and joint ventures.

In late December, Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar told a business weekly that Khazanah had received offers for collaborations, including acquiring its controlling stake in Proton but it had not decided to sell to any party at that time.

“For minority shareholders, we can confirm that Khazanah views any sale to be done on the full 42.7% of its stake and that would mean that it would therefore, under the takeover code, be subjected to a general offer,” the report quoted him as saying.

If the deal to divest Khazanah’s stake in Proton materialised, it would be the third recent divestment of Khazanah’s shares in listed companies to reduce the Government ’s role in business.

The two divestments were TIME Dotcom Bhd and Pos Malaysia Bhd.

If the divestment of Proton involved a general offer for its shares, it would be a surprise to the market.

Many market observers have been speculating that the buyer of Khazanah’s stake in Proton would be seeking a waiver of undertaking a general offer for the rest of the company’s shares.

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