Hong Kong’s leading broadcaster, Television Broadcasts (TVB), is set to regain control of its pay-TV unit, TVB Pay Vision, after agreeing to buy a 31% stake from local content producer See Corp.
TVB, which holds a 29% stake in the pay-TV platform, has agreed to pay $27m (HK$213m) to acquire 336.61m non-voting preferred shares from See Corp. Angela Leong, the fourth wife of Macautycoon Stanley Ho, holds 20% of the voting shares in the company, while See Corp retains an 18% share.
TVB sold a 49% stake in TVB Pay Vision to See Corp in August 2005 following a ruling by the Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority that the broadcaster could not have a controlling stake in the pay-TV unit because of its influential position in terrestrial TV.
However, TVB Pay Vision has recently been making big losses – for the year to December 2008 it recorded losses of $28m – which gave TVB a strong case to regain management control.
Pay-TV operators face stiff competition in Hong Kong from the dominant cable operator, Cable-TV, and PCCW’s hugely successful IPTV platform, Now Broadband TV.
See Corp, headed by entrepreneur Charles Chan, is also involved in film and TV production and the music industry and runs a talent management arm.