Carlyle Seeking New Taiwan Deal Deadline

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group and telecoms company Taiwan Mobile (3045.TW) are in talks to extend a June deadline for their stalled $1 billion cable TV deal, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Thursday.

Carlyle’s plan to sell its stake in cable TV company Kbro for 15.5 percent of Taiwan Mobile has run afoul of a law in Taiwan prohibiting state ownership of media bodies.

The city government of Taipei has an indirect interest in Taiwan Mobile via a stake in parent group Fubon Financial Holdings (2881.TW). Fubon’s controlling shareholder, the Tsai family, is Taiwan Mobile’s largest shareholder.

Taiwan’s broadcast regulator, the National Communications Commission (NCC), had asked the firms in April to sort out the problem.

“Both firms had worked very hard to communicate with the NCC … They are now in talks to extend the deadline,” said the source.

“Neither of them wants to drop the deal. It would be good for both if it could be closed eventually,” said the source, requesting anonymity due to the matter’s sensitive nature.

The source declined to elaborate on how long the extension would be or if a renegotiation of the terms is possible.

Carlyle declined to comment.

Under the deal agreed last September, Taiwan Mobile would pay T$32.8 billion ($1 billion) and assume T$24 billion of debt. The deal was to have closed by end of June. [ID:nTP280376].

Shares of Taiwan Mobile ended 0.17 percent lower on Thursday, trailing a 1.1 percent gain of the broader market.

By Faith Hung
(Editing by Jonathan Standing)