×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Little-Known Company Proposes Buying 30% Stake in Hong Kong’s TVB

Television Broadcasts, or TVB, Hong Kong’s dominant free-to-air TV broadcaster, has revealed that it has received a proposal from a mysterious investment company offering to buy a 29.9% stake.

The surprise announcement comes only a few months after Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang was approved as TVB’s vice chairman. It is certain to fuel suspicions that the Chinese government is trying to use corporate channels to undermine Hong Kong’s free-wheeling media outlets.

TVB suspended its shares from trading on Wednesday morning. Later in the day it disclosed the unsolicited offer from TLG Movie and Entertainment Group to buy a 29.9% stake, which would cost US$501 million (HK$3.89 billion) at the suspension price. TVB is valued at US$1.68 billion (HK$13 billion).

In a two-page letter to TVB shareholders, the companies said TLG’s purchase is conditional on TVB canceling a share buyback that the broadcaster proposed in January at a price of HK$30.5 per share. It also said that the purchase needs the approval of Hong Kong’s broadcast regulator, the Communications Authority.

Mystery surrounds the identity of TLG, which describes itself as being “engaged in the cultural industry and real-estate development and investments.” Although Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK described TLG as a Beijing-based company, public records show that it is a Hong Kong-registered private firm established in August 2015. It has two shareholders and just one company director, Kelvin Dong Wei-tsun.

TVB was founded in 1967 by the late film mogul Sir Run Run Shaw, and currently operates five TV channels. Shaw’s widow, Mona Fong, remains a non-executive director and a major shareholder.

The company’s dominance of TV in Hong Kong was strengthened last year by the collapse of its biggest rival, Asia Television, and by the disarray of the government’s attempts to foster a new digital broadcasting sector. Despite its position and its ownership of one of the largest libraries of Chinese-language content, TVB has begun to struggle. In January, it announced that it would quit the loss-making, pay-TV sector.

Last year, Li, who is the former head of Shanghai Media Group and current chairman of China Media Capital, was given special clearance by the Communications Authority to become a major share owner and a TVB company director. Li is a director of Young Lion Acquisition and Shaw Brothers, two companies that control 26% of TVB shares.

Li’s growing clout at TVB, the acquisition last year of the South China Morning Post by China’s Alibaba, and other Red Capital moves have many in Hong Kong’s media sector worried that the territory’s autonomy, including freedom of the press, is being eroded. In its latest report, the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders said that “Beijing’s influence is increasingly noticeable” in Hong Kong’s media.

TVB and China Media Capital are also joint venture partners with Warner Bros. in Flagship Entertainment, a Hong Kong-domiciled, Beijing-based company aimed at producing Chinese and global blockbuster films.

More Biz

  • THE MASKED SINGER: L-R: Monster (T-Pain)

    New-Model Murdochs: Fox Corporation to Emerge Tuesday

    A new era for the Murdoch clan and the media business begins with the debut of Fox Corporation on Tuesday, a day before Disney completes its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The new-model Fox will begin trading Tuesday on the NASDAQ under the FOXA symbol. On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox will initiate a complex transfer [...]

  • mark Beaven

    If Spotify Is Holding Town Halls for Songwriters, They Must Be Open (Guest Column)

    Earlier this month, Amazon, Google, SiriusXM and Spotify challenged the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years. The streamers have come under fierce criticism for the move, which they claim is over the complexities of the CRB’s rules but is widely assumed [...]

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara Out as Warner Bros. Chief Amid Sexual Impropriety Scandal

    Kevin Tsujihara has resigned his post as chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. following an investigation into his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and allegations he used his clout to help her find work at the studio. In a statement, Tsujihara said he realized “my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s [...]

  • TV Ad Sales Upfronts

    NBCUniversal, Sky Make Joint Ad Offering as TV Upfront Looms

    NBCUniversal and Sky PLC will offer joint packages of advertising services, a new effort to monetize the European satellite broadcaster, which was purchased by parent Comcast Corp. for $39 billion last year. Advertisers will be able to reach customers in sundry international markets as well as the United States, using inventory across NBCU and Sky [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Head

    Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Global Head of Corporate Communications

    Amanda Collins has been named executive vice president and global head of corporate communications for Sony Music Entertainment, effective immediately, it was announced today by CEO Rob Stringer. According to the announcement, in this role she will be responsible for the company’s global internal and external communications strategy and its implementation around the world, working [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content