Littauer Technologies acquires AsiaNetCorp for $1.2 billion

In Asia''s biggest technology acquisition outside the telecoms industry, Korea''s Littauer Technologies has agreed to buy AsiaNetCorp for $1.2 billion in stock. Shareholders approved the deal yesterday.

Littauer Technologies, a Korean technology investment company, has agreed to acquire the internet company it founded, AsiaNetCorp, for $1.2 billion in stock. The move creates one of Asia's biggest technology holding companies.

AsiaNetCorp shareholders yesterday approved the acquisition, which was announced earlier this month. The shareholders will receive one Littauer share for every seven AsiaNetCorp shares held. Littauer's shares are trading at about $139, which means it is paying nearly $20 for each AsiaNetCorp share. Littauer's shares are listed on Korea's Kosdaq exchange.

Beneficiaries of the transaction include AsiaNetCorp's biggest shareholder, NetGain Development. The US investment company, which invested $1 million in AsiaNetCorp seven months ago, paid $1.71 for each of its shares. AsiaNetCorp's second-biggest shareholder is Hutchison Whampoa, the Hong Kong conglomerate run by local tycoon Li Ka-shing, which invested an undisclosed amount at the same time. Other US investors include Michael Jordan - the former chief executive of broadcasting company CBS - and investment companies Netcentric Partners and Odeon Capital.

"The convergence of AsiaNetCorp's internet enabling technologies with Littauer Technologies' business solutions and infrastructure operations will be the first of its kind in Asia [and] can provide the full suite of e-business solutions," says Dennis Lui, AsiaNetCorp's chief executive.

The acquisition will create an investment management company with majority control of 25 technology companies across Asia. The company plans to offer a full range of electronic commerce, infrastructure and applications services for wireless, advertising, business-to-business and business-to-consumer  companies. Littauer also holds minority stakes in technology companies in Honk Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea and the United States.

Big plans

The transaction is the largest technology acquisition in Asia outside the telecommunications industry. The combined company will keep the Littauer Technologies name for now, but will probably change it later. Charles Spackman, the Korean-American financier who founded the privately held Littauer Group will be chairman of the combined company. Dennis Lui, the former managing director of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecommunications, will be its CEO.

Littauer plans to spend the next few months integrating AsiaNetCorp's products and services, which are aimed at companies seeking to take their businesses online.

"All businesses have to make a movement towards making their businesses e-enabled to be competitive," says Richard Lee, director of investments at the Littauer Group. "Now there is no fine line between internet solutions and business solutions."

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