The bank acted as guarantor for distribution fees payable to Fox under two separate contracts signed in 2013 with GMM Grammy and CTH, operators of pay-TV platforms and holders of TV channel licenses.
Three years ago the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) auctioned digital television licenses and raised approximately $1.46 billion for the state from 24 operators. Bangkok Bank provided bank guarantees for 14 of the 24 channels totaling more than $600 million, or approximately 41% of the license fees raised.
Many of the new digital TV channels collapsed or closed. Fox says that Bangkok Bank has failed since the end of 2015 to honor the guarantees it issued on behalf of channels.
“It’s a severe disappointment to us that a major Thai bank is failing to honor its guarantees to us, and its consequences go well beyond my own company, especially at a time of heightened sensitivity for investor confidence in Thailand,” said Zubin Gandevia, president, Asia Pacific and Middle East for FOX Networks Group. “The bank’s credit and its credibility; its entire stock in trade is on the line.”
Variety’s calls to Bangkok Bank went unanswered.