PETALING JAYA: With two of the latest appointees to the board of Media Prima Bhd seemingly linked to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, speculation has intensified that a mandatory general offer (MGO) is on the cards.
CGS-CIMB Research, in a report titled “The gang has arrived”, said the two new directors have both headed companies ultimately owned by the business tycoon.
The research house also noted that the appointments were hot on the heels of Aurora Mulia’s emergence as the media company’s largest shareholder.
Filing by the Companies Commission of Malaysia, it said, revealed that Syed Mokhtar is the ultimate owner of Aurora Mulia, behind layers of shell companies.
On Monday, Media Prima announced Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood would be executive director, while Mohamad Abdullah would assume a non-independent and non-executive directorship role.
Iskandar was once group CEO of Pos Malaysia, which is a subsidiary of one of Syed Mokhtar’s flagship listed conglomerates.
Mohamad, meanwhile, is associated with several companies owned by Syed Mokhtar, including Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd, and was chairman of TMR Media Sdn Bhd – the publisher of The Malaysian Reserve.
He is also chairman of MPH Group (M) Sdn Bhd, a company co-owned by Azman Hanafi Abdullah, who has been linked to Syed Mokhtar.
“If Syed Mokhtar has no intention to trigger the MGO as Media Prima’s management has theorised, then he is treading lightly to skirt the prerequisites to set the trigger, ” the research house said.
To be compelled to issue an MGO, a shareholder has to either breach the 33%-50% creeping threshold, or be in a position to control the majority of the board of directors.
“It remains to be seen whether there would be more reshuffling in Media Prima’s board, going forward, ” it said.
The research house also cited reports claiming that Syed Mokhtar, or his associates, could be behind the 12.84% stake in Media Prima held by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.
If the news reports are proven correct, it said, the businessman may actually own 44.06% of Media Prima.