Japan’s Jupiter plans cable merger

Co. will reorganize into a new entity

TOKYO — Jupiter Telecommunications, Japan’s largest MSO, will merge with Jupiter TV, which operates 17 cable and satellite channels, effective Sept. 1.

First, however, Jupiter TV will reorganize into a new entity, called New Jupiter TV. Trading house Sumitomo will boost its share in Jupiter TV from 50% to 50.00014% by buying one share from joint venture partner Liberty Programming Japan. Sumitomo will next spin off 16 of Jupiter TV’s 17 channels into New Jupiter TV. This new company will then merge with Jupiter Telecommunications, in which Sumitomo and Liberty own a 63% stake through a joint venture, LGI/Sumisho Super Media.

The object of the merger is to boost subscriber totals by offering a more diverse range of programming and improved customer services. Sumitomo also plans to buy back 3.65% of its own shares, spending ¥126 billion ($1.04 million) between May 23 and July 2, and exchange that stake for Liberty’s shares in Jupiter TV, making the company a 100% owned subsidiary. Jupiter TV will continue to operate subsids Jupiter Shop Channel, JBS Limited, On-Line TV and EP Broadcasting Corp.

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