HONG KONG -- A+E Networks has unwound its Asian channel distribution partnership with Malaysia’s Astro and will instead run the business as a stand-alone company.Currently known as AETN All Asia Networks, the company will be renamed A+E Networks Asia and will continue to be run from Singapore by Alan Hodges, managing director, Asia-Pacific for A+E Networks.The company was a joint venture, launched in 2007, with Malaysian pay-TV to newspapers group Astro All Asia Networks and its billionaire boss Ananda Krishnan....
A self-made billionaire, born of Sri Lankan parents in Kuala Lumpur’s Little India district, Ananda Krishnan, widely known as “AK,” seeks the kind of low profile that makes people describe him as a “recluse.” But operating at the heart of Malaysia’s political-business nexus, his operations repeatedly propel him back into the limelight.
A Harvard Business School graduate, Krishnan made a fortune in oil and then another in gambling, before expanding into media and telecoms. His TMT interests these days include: SE Asia regional pay-TV giant Astro; Maxis, Malaysia’s leading phone operator; satellite operator MEASAT; U.K. newspaper group, Johnston Press; Malaysia’s second largest cinema chain, TGV; and Celestial Pictures, the film company built on the Shaw Brothers library films.
Celestial also puts him in business with Haim Saban in Celestial Tiger Entertainment, their joint venture TV bouquet. Although he was previously seen to be an ally of former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, Krishnan last year loaned money (since repaid) for restructuring to 1MDB, the depleted development fund headed by current PM Najib Razak and which may have funded “The Wolf of Wall Street.” That friendly gesture could help keep Krishnan from extradition to India, where he and his bulldog former deputy Ralph Marshall are accused of telecoms bid rigging.