Golden Harvest placement decision due on Monday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 July, 1998, 12:00am


A battle over Golden Harvest's planned $56 million share placement will come to a head on Monday when a judge decides whether to block the deal.

Lawyers for the film distributor and Australian entertainment company Village Roadshow have locked horns for five days at the Court of First Instance over the proposed placement to three high-profile investors.

Mr Justice James Findlay will let counsel know on Monday whether an injunction remains on the deal which gives the consortium a 20 per cent stake in Golden Harvest.

Sources said yesterday the judge had initially intended to give his judgment today. However, it is understood the complexity of the case has required him to take extra time over his decision.

Counsel for neither side had anticipated the initial injunction arguments to last for so long.

The entire court battle so far has taken place behind closed doors.

Village Roadshow, which holds 16 per cent of Golden Harvest, has objected to the placement on the grounds that it is to the detriment of minority shareholders.

The consortium comprises Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox, Robert Kuok's Kerry Holdings and Li Ka-shing.

In a writ filed last month, Village Roadshow argued that the deal was also void because Golden Harvest had not given its directors the notice required by company by-laws.

The placement was decided at a board meeting on June 15.

Most of Golden Harvest's cinema-screen business is run as joint ventures taking in Village Roadshow and a third party.

Of 246 cinema screens operated by Village Roadshow in Southeast Asia, 156 are joint ventures with Golden Harvest. They also plan to open a further 85 screens together.