update, 6pm: Daim involved? Read the poser in The Edge's Financial Daily here.
First, read this story.
Please note that the PT Bank Internasional Indonesia deal is not the first time Temasek is at the heart of a corporate deal that has cost us a fortune and left Malaysia's corporate boys and authorities red-faced. Why did the MoF agree then to let Maybank pay Temasek so much for their stake in BII?
That, however, is just my own narrow concern. For new Finance Minister Najib Razak, Fullerton's disclosure to the Press and what Maybank and the Bank Negara would do next would bear larger, and perhaps more dreadful, implications.
Maybank's top execs, I was told, held a series of meetings over the weekend to discuss the bank's options. It's likely that the bank would choose to walk out of the deal. The goal post had been moved, and both the Indonesian authorities and Temasek have been playing hardball with the bank.
But while dropping out may be in the best interest of the bank and the country's financial sector at large, the fear is that this would trigger retaliation by Indonesian authorities affecting other Malaysian investments in the republic. Temasek is not going to be happy, either. If Maybank walks out of this deal, it won't be easy to find a buyer, especially given the mess in the US right now.
Najib, the new Minister of Finance, must ensure that a decision is taken in haste and without further ado. Once that's settled, he must move on to the next task and get the relevant authorities -- the MoF ll, the Bank Negara, and the previous CEO of Maybank, among others -- to explain how and why the bid for BII was made (is it true that it was RM2 billion overpriced?) and what went wrong.
Back then, in the case of Pantai Holdings, everybody got off scot-free, here..
This time, with a new MoF, heads must roll ...
Monday, September 29, 2008
The new MoF's first big test
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