Ruling on Want Want group to stand: NCC

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 3

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday that it does not need to retract its ruling on the Want Want China Times Group’s purchase of cable television systems owned by China Network Systems (CNS), adding that any dispute between the two parties can be resolved through the legal system.

The commission ruled on July 31, 2012, that the group must fulfill each of the three major conditions as well as 25 complementary clauses before it would be allowed to buy CNS. These included that the group’s chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) and his family had to dissociate themselves completely from the management of CtiTV, that China Television’s (CTV) digital news channel had to be changed into a non-news channel and that CTV had to have an independent content review board.

However, Want Want Group has yet to fulfill any one of the stated provisions.

MBK Partners, the major shareholder in CNS, in October and November last year filed for withdrawal of its applications to both the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the NCC to transfer the company’s shares to the Want Want Group.

NCC spokesperson Yu Hsiao-cheng (虞孝成) said the deal was conducted between two foreign investors, which should be regulated by the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals (外國人投資條例).

“That statute is enforced by the Investment Commission,” Yu said. “The communications commission is the administrative authority regulating cable service operators. We reviewed the Want Want-CNS deal based on the Cable Television and Radio Act (有線廣播電視法), which regulates the qualifications of the buyers.”

Yu said that Want Want is required to follow the commission’s ruling in order to become a qualified buyer.

It does not mean that the transaction between Want Want and CNS was completed, he added.