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Emaxx, Excell deal long dead

Emaxx, Excell deal long dead

120705_07
Cyclists pass in front of the offices of Excell in Phnom Penh yesterday. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The collapse of Digital Star Media’s acquisition of mobile operator Excell emerged yesterday, nearly a year after the firms announced the potential buy-out.

Digital Star Media, branded under the name Emaxx, announced in late July last year it was in talks to buy GT-TELL’s Excell. The deal, however, ended unsuccessfully in February, according to Excell.

“The deal is cancelled. That’s what I can say for sure about this,” Excell chief technical officer Chandrakant Darji said by phone yesterday.

He declined to comment on reasons for the collapse.

Emaxx representatives yesterday declined to comment on the status of the deal. In January, Digital Star chief operating officer Frank May said talks were continuing between the two telecommunications companies.

May is no longer with Digital Star.

At the time, May said Emaxx was carrying out due diligence on the potential acquisition, but did not give a time line for completion. He declined on Tuesday to comment on the deal.

One source close to the deal said Emaxx had not followed through with a major commitment in the buy-out.

“Emaxx was doing due diligence for a very long time . . One of the major milestones in the deal was not fullfilled by them,” said the source, who confirmed the deal had fallen through in February.
The original acquisition would have put Emaxx on the Cambodian map.

The company, which advertises fourth-generation internet services in Phnom Penh, was poised to buy Excell’s 28 cell-phone towers in all 24 Cambodian provinces, the Post reported at the time.

A price tag was on the deal was never disclosed.

Excell, the smallest of Cambodia’s eight mobile operators, will continue to offer mobile services. “We are still working on the expansion of our network and plan to operate [third-generation] services in the future,” Excell’s Chandrakant Darji said.

Excell had reported a flat 40,000 subscribers to its network for more than a year, according to data obtained by the Post.

Excell is Cambodia’s only mobile service to use CDMA technology, which does not use SIM cards and requires subscribers to buy phones made for the service.

The future of CDMA in the region was unclear, analysts said.

“You will continue to see pockets of CDMA in China, India and a few other markets but a much lower trajectory than before,” Shiv Putcha, a telecoms analyst at London research firm Ovum, said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Weinland at [email protected]

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