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A+E Ends Asia JV with Malaysia’s Astro

US channel distributor takes full control in Asia

HONG KONG — A+E Networks has unwound its Asian channel distribution partnership with Malaysia’s Astro and will instead run the business as a stand-alone company.

Currently known as AETN All Asia Networks, the company will be renamed A+E Networks Asia and will continue to be run from Singapore by Alan Hodges, managing director, Asia-Pacific for A+E Networks.

The company was a joint venture, launched in 2007, with Malaysian pay-TV to newspapers group Astro All Asia Networks and its billionaire boss Ananda Krishnan. Since that time Astro’s Malaysian pay-TV business was taken private, separated and then refloated in October last year as Astro Malaysia.

A+E announced that it had concluded a transaction with Astro Overseas Limited, a privately-owned Krishnan holding company that also controls Celestial Pictures, the Hong Kong-based content group built around the Shaw film library.

Neither company would confirm the value of the deal, nor why they were unwinding a six year old partnership. The likely explanation is that A+E’s Asian business is now of a scale that is significant enough to operate independently of the Krishnan group. Astro Malaysia will continue to carry A+E Networks channels in Malaysia and Brunei.

A+E Networks Asia is led by iconic brands A+E and History. Last month it held one of the biggest channel launches in the region debuting Lifetime and H2 on five different platforms. Lifetime takes it into general entertainment and younger, female-skewing audiences for the first time in Asia.

The operation also reps the Crime & Investigation Network and bio.

The Singapore unit operates in South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Macau, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Palau and Thailand.)  It also manages the broadcast of History HD in South Korea.

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