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Brothers sells titles to local players East Asia

Malaysian co. buys about 800 titles for $77 mil

HONG KONG — The venerable Shaw Brothers studio has agreed to sell its film library for HK$600 million ($77 million) to a Malaysian company that aims to become a major Asian media player.

East Asia Filmed Entertainment, the new owner, is a subsidiary of a private investment company run by Amanda Krishan. He also operates satcaster Measat Broadcast Network Systems under the Astro brand.

Terrestrial titan

Shaw Brothers, under the direction of industry elder statesman Sir Run Run Shaw, also controls Hong Kong’s leading terrestrial broadcaster, Television Broadcast (TVB).

The library has about 800 titles, including some of the most popular Chinese-lingo movies made in Hong Kong during the heyday of Shaw Brothers in the 1960s and 1970s.

Included in the purchase price is $62 million for original films and copyrights to the titles in the library and $15 million for remastering and digitalizing the archives.

Shaw Brothers and TVB each will be granted an option of buying 10% of the shares of East Asia Filmed Entertainment.

The deal is expected to be completed by April. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it has taken an equity stake — estimated at 9% — in Measat.

Online venture

Late last year, TVB announced its intention of establishing an Internet subsidiary, TVB.com, in a joint venture with Measat.

TVB has the largest library of Chinese-language programming in the world and is already distributed globally.

Measat said it would invest $30 million for a 30% stake in the venture. Under the Astro name, Measat distributes 28 digital TV services, including substantial TVB content.

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