Taiwan Regulators OKs Carlyle Taiwan’s Sale Of Cable TV Unit For $1.2B – Reuters

Taiwan’s broadcast regulator cleared the proposed sale of Carlyle Group ‘s cable television unit for T$36 billion ($1.2 billion). Reuters said the approval comes months after the Washington, DC-based private equity firm switched the sale to the Tsai family, who made promises including an investing of about T$5.3 billion to digitalize Taiwan’s top cable TV operator Kbro.

(Reuters) – The Taiwan broadcast regulator said on Wednesday it had approved Carlyle Group’s [CYL.UL] T$36 billion ($1.2 billion) sale of its cable TV unit, clearing the way for the private equity firm’s latest divestment from Taiwan.

The long-awaited greenlight comes months after Carlyle switched the sale to the Tsai family, as they do not violate a local law that bans government ownership in media entities.

The Tsais, who are controlling shareholders of Fubon Financial (2881.TW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), have made promises including investing around T$5.3 billion to digitalise the unit, Kbro, Taiwan’s top cable TV operator.

“They have promised to digitalise Kbro as part of the government’s efforts to digitalise the industry,” Vice Chairman C. C. Chen of the National Communications Commission (NCC) told a news briefing.

The approval also bodes well for private equity investor MBK Partner’s sale of China Network Systems (CNS) for around $2 billion, the closest rival of Kbro.

Want Want Holdings (0151.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said in October a consortium it leads had agreed to buy CNS. The deal was subject to NCC’s approval. [ID:nTPV002094]

Carlyle had first agreed late in 2009 to sell Kbro to Taiwan Mobile (3045.TW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), also controlled by the Tsais but was partly owned by the Taipei city government.

The deal lapsed in the face of a Taiwan law that bans state ownership of media entities. [ID:nTOE65T027] [ID:nTOE66P01J]

In a restructuring of the deal to get round the hurdle, the Tsai family agreed to buy Kbro by itself rather than through phone company Taiwan Mobile.

Before the announcement, Fubon shares ended down 1.2 percent, trailing the main index’s .TWII 0.68 percent fall. ($1=T$30.8)

(Reporting by Faith Hung; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)