Negotiations over a $3 billion-plus sale of a 20% stake in Singtel's (Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX:Z74)) Australian telecommunications company Optus (Singtel Optus Pty Limited) to Brookfield Asset Management Ltd. (TSX:BAM) are understood to have come to a halt. DataRoom understands that talks between the pair have ended for now, with the two groups unable to agree on terms, including the price, and Brookfield has walked away from a possible transaction. It is believed Brookfield had been looking to buy an interest in Optus of about 20% and Brookfield baulked at the price, sources say.

There have been suggestions that the asking price was between $3.2 billion and $3.6 billion, with investment bank JPMorgan advising Singtel. It is understood that talks about a sale have been unfolding for at least a couple of months, and were flagged in an industry publication around the end of last year. Brookfield has declined to comment.

Still, some believe an initial public offering or some sort of sell down of Optus by Singtel is not out of the question in the near term after reports surfaced in 2022 that Morgan Stanley was assessing possible IPO plans for the nation's second-largest mobile network. This was before Optus became subject to a cyberattack, and an IPO was considered as a way to fund its capital spending requirements with the introduction of new technology. Now the question is whether Brookfield turns its attention to Optus rival TPG Telecom, which is searching for a partial buyer of its business, advised by Bank of America.

Brookfield entered talks with Singtel after a successful investment in Vodafone New Zealand (now called One New Zealand) with Infratil in 2019 for NZD 3.4 billion. Last year, Brookfield sold its half share to Infratil for NZD 1.8 billion, giving Infratil full ownership. Singtel has said that Optus remains an integral and strategic part of Singel Group and that it is committed to Australia for the long term.

The company said it was focused on improving network resilience and conducting a chief executive search following the departure of Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, but regularly conducted strategic reviews of its portfolio to optimise the value of its assets and shareholder value.