Deal announcement by 가난한영혼

AsiaInfo HoldingsInc. agreed to acquire Linkage Technologies International Holdings Ltd., a rival provider of telecommunications-industry software, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $733 million.

Steve Zhang, AsiaInfo's president and chief executive, said the deal will help AsiaInfo make inroads with China TelecomCorp., the country's second-largest telecom provider by users, after China MobileLtd. "We have very complementary customer bases. AsiaInfo's traditional strength is with China Mobile, and Linkage's traditional strength is with China Telecom," he said.

The two companies provide to China's three telecom carriers software and other services, such as billing systems and software to keep track of customer activity. AsiaInfo, which is based in Beijing and listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market, had 12% of China's market for telecom IT services last year, and Linkage had 11%, according to Goldman Sachs. Huawei Technologies Co. had 14% of the market.

"AsiaInfo has had a hard time cracking the China Telecom accounts," said Ken Liu, an analyst who covers the company for Yuanta Securities. "Linkage is stronger with China Telecom, so together they really have a dominant position in the market."

AsiaInfo said Linkage shareholders will receive $60 million and 26.8 million AsiaInfo shares, which at Friday's closing price were valued at $673 million.

China Mobile, AsiaInfo's principal customer, had 513.5 million mobile subscribers at the end of October. China Telecom had 295 million, including 192.9 million fixed-line users and just 49.9 million mobile users.

AsiaInfo received around 70% of its third-quarter revenue from China Mobile, said Mr. Zhang, who will become president and CEO of the new company. China Mobile will account for half the merged company's revenue, with China Telecom and China Unicom (Hong Kong)Ltd., the country's third major carrier, each accounting for around 25%, he said.

Closely held Linkage, based in Nanjing, China, last month filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission its intention to sell as much as $175 million in American depositary shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Linkage said it would seek $13 to $15 per ADR. Yuanta Securities' Mr. Liu estimated that AsiaInfo will pay the equivalent of $14.35 a share for the company. Linkage won't pursue the IPO in light of the AsiaInfo deal.

The merged entity will be called AsiaInfo-Linkage Inc. and have a market capitalization of $1.8 billion, AsiaInfo said. Linkage's shareholders will own 35.8% of the new company, while AsiaInfo shareholders will own the remaining 64.2%.

AsiaInfo said the deal, expected to close in the first half, will add to per-share earnings next year. The new company will have more than 8,000 employees.


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