Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Far EasTone says not in cable TV talks

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecom operator, yesterday said it was interested in the cable TV business but was not in talks with private equity fund MBK Partners Ltd to acquire the nation’s top cable TV system operator, China Network Systems Co (中嘉網路).

The comments came after the Chinese-language Commercial Times said the telecom company was gearing up negotiations with MBK for a 60 percent stake in China Network, after rival Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) inked an agreement with Carlyle Group for a major stake in the nation’s No.2 cable TV system operator Kbro Co (凱擘) for NT$32.8 billion (US$1 billion) earlier this month.

“We are interested in the cable TV business,” said Jeffey Gee (紀竹律), president of New Century InfoComm Tech Co (NCIC, 新世紀資通), fixed-line subsidiary of Far EasTone.

MBK owns 60 percent of shares of China Network, which has grabbed more than 20 percent share of the nation’s cable TV system market with 1.1 million subscribers.

Earlier this year, Far EasTone chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) expressed interest in the cable TV business, but said the company was in no hurry, citing high merger and acquisition costs.

“It is nothing but media speculation. We are not in talks with MBK [about buying China Network],” Far EasTone spokesperson Allison Kao (高治華) said.

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