Mon, Aug 08, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Want Want-CNS hearing planned

CONCENTRATION OF OWNERSHIP:The NCC plans to address issues of media consolidation in the purchase by Want Want, which owns newspapers and TV networks

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) announced last week that it would soon hold a public hearing over Want Want Group’s purchase of China Network Systems (CNS).

The commission said that both the people involved in the transaction and those who would be affected by it, as well as media experts, would be invited by the commission to express their thoughts on the case, adding that it would soon announce the details of the public hearing.

CNS is one of the nation’s largest multiple system operators and has 11 cable TV services under its wings.

According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), the operator has a market share of about 23 percent.

Want Want Group, which acquired the China Times Group in 2008, owns two daily newspapers, a terrestrial TV network, a cable TV network and a magazine.

Want Want is also known as one of the largest food and -beverage manufacturers in China and is one of the large shareholders at Hong Kong’s Asia Television.

The FTC approved the Want Want-CNS deal in April, with Want Want asked to meet several conditions set by the FTC.

Some of the conditions include Want Want not allowing its shareholders to cross-manage the cable TV systems under CNS. Neither can the group limit competition from operators outside the group.

Meanwhile, the group must also limit the number of self-produced programs as well as home--shopping channels.

Despite the FTC approval, Want Want cannot finalize the deal until it secures approvals from the NCC, the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Financial Supervisory Commission.

The NCC will address issues that might arise through media consolidation, whereas the Investment Commission and Financial Supervisory Commission will investigate the sources of Want Want’s funding to finance the purchase.

The nation’s highest media regulator had just conditionally approved the Fubon Group’s purchase of the cable systems owned by Kbro Co last year.

The approval enabled Fubon to become the largest cable service operator in the country, with about 33 percent of market share.

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