Sat, Apr 05, 2008 - Page 3 News List

NCC gives green light for transfer of BCC ownership

FAIR PLAY To prevent a monopoly, the agency ruled in June last year that Jaw Shaw-kong’s wife must reduce her stake in UFO Network within six months

By Liu Li-jen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Communications Commission (NCC) on Thursday approved the Broadcasting Corp of China’s (BCC) transfer of ownership to Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), after his wife Liang Lei (梁蕾) reduced her shareholding in UFO Network, another radio station.

To prevent a monopoly, the NCC ruled in June last year that Liang — who is also a UFO Network board director — must reduce her shareholding in UFO Network to below 10 percent within six months, among other requirements.

Jaw and his wife did not meet the requirements before the deadline and in October, Jaw resigned as chairman of the BCC, citing “relentless persecution” by the government.

The NCC met again to review the transfer of ownership to Jaw in February, two months after the six-month period had ended.

The NCC did not reach a decision on whether to reject the ownership change, but rather postponed the deadline for Jaw and his wife to meet the requirements by 15 work days.

On March 19, two days before the deadline, Jaw notified the NCC that Liang had sold 24 percent of her stake in UFO, leaving her with a 9.99 percent stake in the company.

The NCC said that Liang sold her shares to three individuals not affiliated with any political party, government agency or the military.

It declined to disclose the names of the three individuals or the price at which the shares were sold.

Some BCC employees questioned the NCC’s neutrality, to which NCC Chairman Su Yeong-chin (蘇永欽) responded that the commission was being discreet in handling the issue.

Apart from selling UFO shares, Jaw agreed to eight additional requirements set by the NCC, including raising the percentage of self-produced BCC programs and prohibiting foreign capital in the company.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-owned Central Investment Co (中央投資公司) sold BCC, Central Motion Picture Co and China Television Co to China Times Group subsidiary Jungli Investment Co (榮麗投資公司) in 2005 for NT$9.3 billion (US$280.7 million).

The transaction was facilitated by Hua Hsia, an investment firm owned by the KMT.

The deal was later canceled because the China Times Group was unable to pay the amount in full.

Jaw later purchased the company from Hua Hsia. Jaw never said how much he paid for the company.

Jaw’s resignation announcement came after the NCC approved the sale of BCC to four subsidiaries. The government believes the four subsidiaries were actually owned by Jaw.

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