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Malaysia's Krishnan to Make Maxis Buy-out Offer

Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan plans to buy out the country's largest mobile-phone company, Maxis Communications, the firm said on Monday.

The company had received notification from one of its major shareholders, Krishnan-controlled firm Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd, that it and its affiliates would make an offer by Thursday.

Krishnan held an indirect interest of 47.05% in Maxis as of April last year, according to company data. At the current share price, a buy-out bid for the remainder of about 53% would cost around 17.4 billion ringgit ($5.1 billion).

Usaha Tegas "has indicated that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the notice of takeover offer will be served on the company on or before 3 May 2007", Maxis said in a brief statement.

The news wrong-footed the market.

"The big question is why?" said Ong Boon Leong of Malaysian brokerage Hwang-DBS. "It looks kind of strange that he would want to take it private at this price," he added.

Maxis stock, which was suspended from trade before the company statement, has climbed nearly 50% in the past 12 months, outperforming the wider market by about 7%.