UPDATE 1-Conglomerate Keppel to buy Singapore Press Holdings for $1.7 bln

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UPDATE 1-Conglomerate Keppel to buy Singapore Press Holdings for $1.7 bln

(Adds details on deal price, comments, background) 

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corp said on Monday it would buy Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) for S$2.24 billion ($1.65 billion), excluding the newspaper publisher's media business. 

The deal will give Keppel access to SPH's real estate footprint, which includes malls, residential properties, a portfolio of properties for student accommodation as well as nursing homes. 

Keppel said it would offer a combination of cash and units in Keppel REIT to shareholders of the Singapore Straits Times publisher for a total implied value of S$2.099 per share, representing an 11.6% premium to the stock's last close on Friday. 

"(The deal) will complement Keppel Land's plans to move beyond a developer model to providing urban development solutions," the conglomerate said in a statement, adding that it would accelerate Keppel's expansion into the student accommodation and senior living sectors. 

The deal will be accretive to Keppel's earnings on a pro forma basis and boost its assets under management and recurring income, said Loh Chin Hua, Keppel's chief executive officer. 

SPH, which publishes the city-state's main newspaper, said in May it would transfer its media business to a not-for-profit company as the unit struggles with falling advertising revenue and losses. 

($1 = 1.3538 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Sameer Manekar; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel) 

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