Sat, Dec 23, 2006 - Page 11 News List

FTC gives approval for Webs-tv.net Blockbuster buyout

By Jessie Ho and Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Fair Trade Commission gave a green light to Webs-tv.net's (網絡數碼) acquisition of Blockbuster Inc's Taiwan branch, saying in a statement yesterday that the buyout would not endanger competition in the movie rental market.

Webs-tv.net is the nation's largest online multimedia service provider, and Blockbuster Taiwan is a major movie rental chain.

The acquisition will help diversify Webs-tv.net's business without endangering fair competition on the video rental market, the commission said.

Webs-tv.net reportedly would buy all 128 local outlets of Blockbuster Taiwan for NT$500 million (US$15.35 million). Blockbuster decided to leave the Taiwan market because of rampant piracy.

Blockbuster's major competitor in Taiwan is Asia1 (亞藝影音), an investment of CMC Magnetics Corp (中環集團), an optical and magnetic storage media producer. Asia1 has 106 outlets nationwide.

Meanwhile, the commission yesterday fined Far Eastern Department Store (遠東百貨) NT$1.02 million for failing to report its takeover of rival Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨), it said in a statement.

The commission's statistics showed that Far Eastern posted sales of NT$16.93 billion and Pacific Sogo listed revenues of NT$26.06 billion in 2001.

In September 2002, Far Eastern participated in recapitalization of Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通), Pacific Sogo's parent company, to obtain a majority share, gaining full control of the investment firm's board as well as Pacific Sogo's operations and personnel.

Far Eastern failed to report the deal and violated regulations of the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法).

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