Vincent Tan to restructure his business empire

Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who is back at the helm of the Berjaya group, yesterday unveiled his big plan to restructure his business empire that may involve the sale of assets, privatising two companies — 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) — as well as the listing of hotel business in Singapore.

The plan will start with asset sale at his flagship Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp). According to Tan, the group is in the midst of sealing a deal to sell its Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences Kyoto for about US$700 million (RM2.93 billion) to US$800 million, which will translate into a divestment gain of US$400 million.

After the sale of the hotel in Kyoto, BCorp will have an expanded war chest to buy out 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings, whose share price has slipped to a 15-month low of RM1.27.

To do that, Tan will sell his majority 46% stake in 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings to BCorp, which will then launch a takeover offer to buy out the convenience store chain operator. Based on yesterday’s closing of RM1.27, 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings’ market capitalisation stood at RM1.56 billion. Tan’s stake is valued at RM756.8 million.

Meanwhile, BCorp may carve out the hotel assets from BLand, in which it controls a 70.32% stake, and float the assets in Singapore. BLand, which is trading at a sharp 77.8% discount to its net asset per share of 81 sen, will be taken private.

Furthermore, Tan intends to inject his private business into Berjaya Media Bhd (BMedia) given that the company’s media business has not fared well. Tan holds a 38.92% stake in BMedia, while BCorp holds an 18.06% stake.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Tan, the executive chairman of BCorp, said the restructuring exercise would enable BCorp to acquire the prized assets held by the listed subsidiaries at the current cheap valuations.

He commented that shares in the listed entities in the Berjaya group are largely undervalued, citing BLand and 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings as examples, and that the market has not given the decent valuation that BCorp deserves as a diversified conglomerate.

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