MBNS inks deal with TVB

29.41% stake estimated at $94 million

HONG KONG — Measat Broadcast Network Systems (MBNS) of Malaysia has agreed to buy a nearly 45% stake in Hong Kong-based Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, a unit of Television Broadcasts (TVB).

The deal is contingent on the Hong Kong government’s approval of Galaxy’s application for a pay TV service. Galaxy plans to launch a 40-channel pay TV service in Hong Kong within nine months of securing a license.

The government is currently examining license applications from about 10 companies, including a joint bid from Star TV and Cable & Wireless HKT, and is expected to make a decision in the next few months.

Under the terms of the deal, MBNS will acquire an initial 29.41% stake in Galaxy for $94 million and is obligated to take another 15% at $56 million within 15 months, though Galaxy retained the right to court other investors for that 15% share.

With the capital from MBNS, Galaxy plans to acquire parent company TVB’s 64% stake in the Chinese Channel in Europe.

Galaxy will also acquire the direct-to-home business of another TVB subsidiary offering Cantonese programming in the U.S.

In addition, Galaxy will acquire from TVB a new 10-channel satellite-TV service, TVB Australia, to be launched Down Under in the middle of the year.

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