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Malaysia Tycoon to Pay Up to $6 Billion for Maxis

Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan will announce on Thursday a bid approaching $6 billion for the country's largest mobile phone firm, Maxis Communications, Malaysia's Business Times reported.

Krishnan, who already owns 47.05% of the business, is expected later on Thursday to unveil an offer for the rest of the company. Industry analysts suspect that he may ultimately want to relist Maxis offshore, where valuations are higher.

The Business Times said the offer would be pitched at between 14 and 15 ringgit per Maxis share, a 8% -15% premium over the stock's last traded price of 13 ringgit. This would put the buy-out cost at between $5.5 billion and $5.9 billion.

The daily said investment banks CIMB and ABN AMRO were advisers to the deal, adding: "A media conference is due today to announce Ananda's voluntary general offer."

Maxis, which faces a price war and a maturing market at home, is expanding into larger and less developed Asian markets to drive growth. It owns India's Aircel and Indonesia's PT Natrindo Telepon Selular, both unlisted.

Maxis stock fetches 16.2 times projected earnings, compared with India's top mobile phone services firm, Bharti Airtel, on 38 times and China Mobile on 18.2 times.