Chinese-language broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television aims to raise up to $120m (HK$938m) from an initial public offering to fund ambitious expansion plans including the launch of three new channels, a new production base and an internet portal.
The company has set a June 30 date to float on Hong Kong's Growth Enterprise Market (GEM). The flotation of 15% of the company's shares implies a market cap of HK$6.25bn, making it the third largest GEM stock, behind tom.com and SUNeVision Holdings.
Among the broadcasters' plans are the launch of North America Channel, a Chinese-language channel for North America; InfoNews Channel, China's first local-language 24-hour news and financial channel; and a Cantonese-language channel targeting the company's strong viewer base in Guangdong Province.
Phoenix also plans to establish a production base in Shenzhen in southern China and expand its existing web-site www.phoenixtv.com into an "infotainment" portal.
Phoenix is one of only a few foreign-owned satellite broadcasters to make significant inroads into mainland China. It is 45% owned by Rupert Murdoch's Star TV, 45% by channel chief Liu Changle, and 10% by Bank of China. Star and Liu's stakes will be diluted to 38.25% as a result of the float. Bank of China's will be reduced to 8.5%.
"The Chinese speaking communities account for one-fifth of the world's population. The market potential of Chinese television is so huge that there is significant room for its viewership and advertising bases to grow further," said Liu.
Phoenix also said its profits before extraordinary items for the year to June 30 would be at least $3.5m (HK$27m) compared to a net loss of $10m (HK$78.47m) the previous year.