Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 12 News List

MBK wins rights for China Network

STAFF WRITER

MBK Partners LP, a private equity fund, has won the priority rights to acquire Taiwan's largest cable TV operator China Network Systems Co (中嘉網路) for up to NT$55 billion (US$1.66 billion), the Economic Daily reported yesterday.

MBK outbid Newbridge Capital, an US investment firm, by offering more than NT$50,000 per subscriber to secure a majority stake in China Network, the Chinese-language report said, without citing sources.

As China Network has 1.1 million subscribers, or 26.2 percent of the market share in Taiwan, the deal is estimated to range from NT$52 billion to NT$55 billion, the largest merger in the industry, the report said.

Newbridge's offer was about NT$43,000 to NT$45,000 per subscriber, the report said.

China Network and MBK will sign a draft agreement by next Tuesday and negotiate details of the share sale in three to six months, the report said. If the negotiations fail, China Network has the right to choose another buyer.

China Network officials refused to comment on the share sale.

After concluding the deal, 60 percent of Taiwan's cable TV market will be controlled by foreign investors, according to the report.

In April the Carlyle Group bought a majority stake in Eastern Multimedia Co (東森媒體科技), the nation's second-largest cable TV provider, for NT$47.6 billion.

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