Carlyle Gets Expression Of Interest For Taiwan TV Stake, But Sale Unlikely – Reuters

Carlyle Group received an expression of interest for its stake in a Taiwan cable TV firm, Reuters reported. Two separate sources said Carlyle is not likely to sell what is a profitable.Taiwan’s Eastern Media International is interested in picking up the Washington, DC-based shop’s estimated 62 percent stake in ETTV, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

* Another shareholder expresses interest-source
* Carlyle “happy” with stake, not seen selling-other source
* Any sale would be Carlyle’s second Taiwan TV exit
* Stake reportedly worth $250 million

(Reuters) – Carlyle Group has received an expression of interest for its stake in a Taiwan cable TV firm, but the U.S. private equity firm is not likely to sell what is a profitable asset, two separate sources said on Friday.

Taiwan’s Eastern Media International has told Carlyle of its interest in the around 62 percent stake in the cable firm, ETTV, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The person did not elaborate on whether any formal talks had taken place.

A separate source, who also declined to be identified, said, however, that Carlyle was “happy with the holding”, which was profitable, and would not be interested in a sale.

Carlyle declined to comment. Eastern Media could not immediately be reached for comment.

Eastern’s shares were up 0.55 percent at T$7.30 at 0351 GMT, off an earlier high of T$7.37, in a broader market down 0.5 percent.

Eastern Media is ETTV’s second-largest shareholder with a 21.3 percent stake. Taiwan’s Economic Daily newspaper, citing market talk, said the Carlyle stake may be worth T$7.5 billion ($250 million).

PROFITABLE MARKET

Any sale would mark Carlyle’s second exit from Taiwan’s cable TV market after it completed late last year the sale of its Kbro cable TV unit to a local investor for $1.2 billion after a year-long sale process marked by regulatory holdups.

The company recently sold a $1.8 billion stake in China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co Ltd .

Another Taiwanese cable operation, China Network Systems, is being sold by private equity firm MBK Partners. The buyer, Want Want China Holdings , told Reuters in November that it would submit its plan to regulators in December.

Kbro and CNS hold over half of the Taiwanese cable TV market, with a combined total of around 2.2 million subscribers. The third-largest player is TBC, controlled by Macquarie Group .

Taiwan’s cable market offers one of the highest profit margins in the Asia-Pacific region. Cable penetration on the island of 23 million people stands at above 80 percent.

(Reporting by Jonathan Standing and Lin Miaojung; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)