Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. threw down the gauntlet to Elliott Management yesterday, insisting it wouldn’t raise its offer for Wing Hang Bank, the Hong Kong lender in which the hedge fund owns a nearly 8% stake.
Elliott’s shares are probably enough to keep Singapore-based OCBC from gaining control of 90% of Wing Hang shares. That can’t keep the deal from going through, but would force OCBC to leave Wing Hang listed and to reduce its stake to 75%.
Elliott announced its stake earlier this month. The hedge fund has not announced its plans for the stake, but one of its options was to agitate for a higher price than the US$5 billion OCBC has offered.
OCBC appears to have closed the door on that possibility, issuing a voluntary “no price increase” statement yesterday. Last week, the bank’s CEO, Samuel Tsien, told Bloomberg News that gaining control of a majority of Wing Hang shares—which it has already done—was the “most important thing,” and that if it could not get to 90%, “we’ll keep the company listed.” OCBC has done so with previous acquisitions.