OCBC Dismisses Elliott Stake In Bank It’s Buying

Jul 11 2014 | 7:18am ET

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. isn’t worry about Elliott Management’s machinations with regard to its planned purchased of Wing Hang Bank.

Elliott has bought up a nearly 8% stake in Hong Kong-based Wing Hang, nearly enough to prevent OCBC from delisting it after it closes its US$5 billion deal for the bank. But the Singapore-based firm does not appear overly concerned about that prospect, saying the “most important thing” was to gain control of a majority of shares to seal the takeover, which it has done.

“We know that they’re there, but in terms of would it distract us or change us from what we’re currently doing, it will not,” OCBC CEO Samuel Tsien told Bloomberg News. “We’ll just proceed according to the general offer document and if we cannot get 90%, we’ll keep the company listed.”

It is unclear what Elliott’s plans for its stake are. The hedge fund could be seeking a higher price from OCBC, or it could be making a longer-term play on Wing Hang’s real-estate holdings or on OCBC’s ability to improve the bank’s performance.

If it is the former, Tsien does not appear inclined to pay more.

“The price we paid is fair and very reasonable, so whatever happens in the market is something that the investors would have to consider,” he said. “We’ll continue with the strategy because the value will still be realized as long as we own more than 50%.” 

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