TVB shares ease after broadcaster imposes March 7 deadline on TLG’s takeover bid
Shares of TVB fell to a two-week low on Thursday after Hong Kong’s main broadcaster gave an ultimatum to TLG to make good on its declaration of a takeover.
TVB shares ended Thursday 1.6 per cent lower than its close in the previous session, shedding 55 HK cents to HK$33.75.
Television Broadcasts said it has imposed a March 7 deadline on Beijing’s TLG Movie & Entertainment Group to make good on its declaration to take over Hong Kong’s main free-to-air broadcaster.
TLG has until 5pm in Hong Kong on March 7 to announce a firm intention to make an offer for TVB, or abandon the takeover, the broadcaster said on Wednesday night in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.
No extension to the deadline will be granted except under exceptional circumstances, TVB said.
In a surprise move, TLG proposed last month to buy 29.9 per cent of the issued share capital of the 49-year-old broadcaster, in what it described as a “formal discussion” with TVB regarding a possible conditional cash partial offer.
If the deal is completed, TLG will surpass mainland media tycoon Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital to become the largest shareholder of Hong Kong’s largest television station.
TLG’s founder and chief executive Alex Chow declined to comment on TVB’s deadline when contacted by the South China Morning Post.
Chow said he would have a formal response in a few days.
“But I cannot tell you anything at this moment,” Chow said in a written response.
TVB is considered attractive partly because of archival footage, movies and sitcoms that span nearly half a century in television broadcasting.
“As a Hong Kong local, I value the intellectual property of TVB,” Chow said in a February 9 interview with the Post.
Chow said on Monday that the offer will be issued within this week.
The proposed share purchase by Chow came after TVB’s largest shareholder Young Lion offered to buy back 31.51 per cent of the company’s shares for HK$4.21 billion in January.
Young Lion, with a 26 per cent shareholding in TVB, is controlled by the broadcaster’s chairman Charles Chan Kwok-keung. Mainland businessman Li Ruigang and HTC Corp chairwoman Wang Hsiueh-hong also own stakes in Young Lion.
Young Lion raised the buy-back offer price by 15 per cent to HK$35.075 in a bid to thwart TLG’s bid on February 14.
TVB’s second-largest shareholder, Silchester International Investors LLP, a London-based fund publicly declared it opposed Young Lion’s buyback proposal, describing it as an “essentially a disguised nil premium takeover attempt”.
TLG told the Post it had the financial backing of two mainland Chinese funds and an overseas party, and would publicise the details of its offer by the end of February. However, no details of the offer were made public by the scheduled released date.
TLG’s shareholders are listed as Geoffrey Wai Ho-choi and Kelvin Dong Wei-tsun, with Wai serving as non-executive director, while Dong is the sole director, according to its February 8 statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.