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Satcaster Wowow plans IPO

Co. to use proceeds to acquire programming

TOKYO — Japanese satcaster Wowow plans to launch an IPO on the venture-oriented Mothers section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange as early as March, a Japanese financial daily has reported.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Wowow will use proceeds from the IPO to acquire programming, boost its infrastructure and build a war chest in an ever increasingly competitive Japanese satcasting market.

Wowow officials had no comment.

The paper said that Wowow looks to raise about 20 billion yen ($171 million) through the IPO, but the current slump in the Tokyo market could delay the share offering until April or later.

Last October, direct-to-home satcaster Sky PerfecTV launched an IPO on the Mothers section that raised about $1 billion for the company. But investors saw share prices in the satcaster nose-dive as soon as trading began and the value of their investments plummet.

The fall in Sky PerfecTV prices led Japan’s top cable TV company, Jupiter, to call off an IPO scheduled for about a month after the Sky PerfecTV listing.

Japanese movie distribution company Gaga is also looking to launch an IPO.

Japan’s satcasting market heated up last month when all of the country’s webs launched a new channel of programming on a government satellite that started full-scale service on Dec. 1.

Wowow has about 2.6 million subscribers.