Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Mao Te’s business plan for EBC under review, NCC says

SHAREHOLDING:Mao Te is not a listed firm and an initial review indicates that it does not have any public or political funding, the commission said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Mao Te International Investment Co plans to invest more than NT$140 million (US$4.66 million) annually in program production and facility upgrades if its acquisition of Eastern Broadcasting Co (EBC) is approved, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

The company, owned by real-estate developer Chang Kao-hsiang (張高祥), acquired the cable television network last month from its two main shareholders: Eastern Media International Corp and the US-based private equity fund Carlyle Group.

While the transfer of shareholdings from Eastern Media to Mao Te does not need government approval, because it is a transaction between two domestic firms, the one involving Carlyle Group will have to be approved by the Investment Commission, NCC spokesman Weng Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said.

Before it rules on the case, the Investment Commission is legally required to seek input from the NCC, as the regulator of broadcasting media, Weng said.

The NCC conducted a preliminary review of Mao Te’s business plan on Wednesday, Weng said.

“The buyers are companies owned by Chang, his wife and three children, and the shareholding structure is less complicated compared with other cases we have reviewed in the past. Mao Te is not a public company, and an initial review indicates that it does not include any funding from the government, political parties or the military,” he said.

The company’s business plan shows that it plans to spend at least NT$100 million annually in the next three years to fund the production of various programs — from television series to movies and children and youth programs, Weng said.

The company plans to spend an additional NT$42 million each year to upgrade the network’s facilities so it can produce high-definition programs.

In addition to its business plan, the company presented financial statements issued by banks in the documents submitted to the NCC, which state that it has a total of NT$12.3 billion in cash, according to an official involved in the preliminary review

The NCC would also consult a panel of independent experts over the issues involved in this deal, Weng said.

The NCC will hold at least one public hearing and one administrative hearing to gather opinions from the public and shareholders, he said.

“The commissioners will examine the investment based on four aspects: the independence of its news department, percentage of international news, capital allocation and media workers’ rights,” he said.

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