Deal would give Rongfeng chairman a 61% stake

Mainland Chinese real estate developer Wang Jing is reportedly close to a deal to buy a controlling stake in Hong Kong’s cash-strapped broadcaster Asia Television.

Wang, chairman of the Shanghai-listed property giant Rongfeng Holding Corp., is in talks with several shareholders over the deal, which, if successful, would secure him a 61% stake, the Oriental Morning Post reported. Before the sale can go through, however, a complicated web of competing shareholder deals needs to be sorted out.

Hong Kong tycoon Payson Cha, the chairman of Want Want China Holdings, who currently owns a controlling stake in ATV, wants to sell a 10.75% stake to Wang.

However, Taiwan billionaire Tsai Eng-meng, who has a 23.31% stake in ATV and has first refusal on Cha’s stake, opposes the deal and intends to pump in millions to revive the TV station.

Wang is also trying to buy a 14.81% stake owned by China Light Group, a subsidiary of state-owned investment company Citic Group.

ATV, the smaller of Hong Kong’s two free-to-air broadcasters, has been struggling for decades in a market dominated by its rival, TVB. Last year the station fired hundreds of staff in a bid to slash costs.

Wang, born and educated in Shanghai, catapulted into prominence over land deals.

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