×

21st Century Fox Sells Phoenix Stake

Disposal completes Murdoch's broadcast retreat from China

MUMBAI – 21st Century Fox has sold its remaining stake in Chinese-language broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television.

It announced that subsidiary Star Entertainment Holdings had sold its 12.15% stake to TPG China Media, part of private equity group TPG. The shares were sold at HK$2.73 each, implying a gross transaction value of $213 million (HK$1.66 billion). In March, the former News Corp unit, sold a 5.3% stake for $92 million.

Phoenix was started in 1996 as a joint venture between News Corp. and entrepreneur Liu Changle, who still heads the Hong Kong stock market-listed company. It operates a bouquet of Mandarin-language channels, including Phoenix Chinese Channel, Phoenix Movie Channel and Phoenix InfoNews Channel.

The Phoenix disposal marks the apparent end of Rupert Murdoch and News Corp./21st Century Fox’s ambitions as a broadcaster in China. Three years ago News Corp. broke up its pan-Asian broadcast group STAR TV, retaining the Indian operations but selling off a controlling interest in its Chinese channels to China Media Capital, a Chinese state-owned equity group.

Like most western-owned channels, STAR failed to get the ‘landing rights’ that it sought in China that would have made it freely accessible to the mass mainland Chinese population. Instead it had to be satisfied with a position that made its channels available only in privileged locations, such as top tier apartments, hotels and foreigners’ residences.

While the disposal appears to be a setback in China – and it comes at a time when Murdoch and 21st Century Fox are pushing ahead in India through the recently announced sports deal with IMG-Reliance – a changing media landscape may cushion the blow. Widespread, high speed internet access and fast developing online video platforms make individual shows more important than linear TV channels.

In China, 21st Century Fox still retains a 19.9% stake in the NASDAQ-listed Chinese film producer and distributor Bona Film Group.

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    Harvey Weinstein Taken to Bellevue Hospital With Chest Pains

    Harvey Weinstein was taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Monday after complaining of chest pains, according to his representative. Weinstein was supposed to be transferred to the jail on Rikers Island, but was diverted to Bellevue. Weinstein was remanded into custody on Monday morning after a jury convicted him on charges of sexual assault [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    Weinstein Guilty Verdict Sends a Message to Victims and Prosecutors

    The verdict in the Harvey Weinstein trial will send a message to victims and prosecutors that difficult cases can be won, legal experts said on Monday. Weinstein was convicted on Monday morning of committing a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape, following a six-week trial in New York Supreme Court. He faces five to 25 [...]

  • Tarana Burke

    #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke on Weinstein Verdict: 'Implications Reverberate Far Beyond Hollywood'

    Tarana Burke, the activist who founded the “Me Too” movement, issued a statement in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s conviction on Monday. Burke begins her statement by saying, ““Today, a jury confirmed what we all know: Harvey Weinstein committed sexual assault.” She then decries the “incredibly narrow and unjust set of laws governing sexual assault,” blaming [...]

  • Vanessa Bryant, wife of Kobe Bryant

    Vanessa Bryant Remembers Husband Kobe and Daughter Gianna in Touching Memorial Tribute

    Vanessa Bryant held back tears as she paid emotional tribute to her late husband and NBA legend Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna at a memorial service held at the Staples Center on Monday. Vanessa began her touching speech by remembering her 13-year-old daughter, who she says was “a sweet soul,” and reflected on their friendship. [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers React to Rape Conviction: 'We're Never Going Back'

    Validation, relief, gratitude and pride — those were some of the emotions expressed by a group of women who came forward with allegations of sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein in response to the disgraced producer’s conviction on Monday for rape and sexual assault. The group of more than 20 women held a [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan

    Hollywood Reacts to Harvey Weinstein Verdict: 'I Hope the Handcuffs Are Tight'

    Harvey Weinstein, once regarded as one of the most influential forces in the film industry, was found guilty of committing a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape on Monday morning. He was acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault. The verdict comes two years after more than a dozen women accused Weinstein of sexual [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content