True and dtac’s merger has successfully closed, in a deal marked as the largest telco merger in Southeast Asia by combined enterprise value.
The transaction has seen True and dtac essentially cease to exist, giving up their status as judicial entities to create the new entity known as True Corporation which has been awarded a commercial licence by the Department of Business Development at the Ministry of Commerce. As noted by TeleGeography, True Corporation has taken over True and dtac’s assets, rights, liabilities and obligations.
Regulator NBTC’s approval hinged on True and dtac submitting a plan for separate management, administration and accounting systems, which the firms have duly provided along with a plan for the provision of services to MVNOs. The merger was opposed by former market leader AIS in court, and also hit several regulatory hurdles before being cleared.
True Corporation’s estimated mobile customer base – based on FY22 - is 55 million mobile customers, with 5 million broadband connections and 3.2 million pay-tv subscribers. Its EBITDA was US$2.4 billion and revenue US$6.2 billion, giving the new company an enterprise value of more than US$20 billion.
True Corporation faces escalating demand for high-speed data in Thailand, with Telenor Asia's Digital Lives Decoded 2022 survey indicating that 82% of Thais are expected to significantly increase their mobile usage over the coming years - more so than in any other market surveyed.
“Telenor is ready to support True Corporation with access to advanced technology, a network of global partners and cutting-edge industry insights. The new company will combine the strengths of dtac and True to deliver high quality connectivity and leverage the latest developments in 5G, AI and IoT,” says Jørgen A. Rostrup, Executive Vice President of Telenor Group and Head of Telenor Asia.
To accelerate and stimulate growth in Thailand’s digital ecosystem, the new company, together with partners, intends to raise US$200 million in venture capital, supporting promising digital startups focusing on new products and services that benefit Thai consumers.
Telenor and CP Group will be equal partners with a 30.3 percent ownership stake each in the new company. The Board of Directors of True Corporation will consist of 11 directors. Suphachai Chearavanont has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Directors and Jørgen A. Rostrup will be Deputy Chair, in addition to chairing the Executive Committee.