TVB requests its shares resume trading on Monday morning
Trading has been suspended since April 28 as regulator mulls implications of buyback
Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB) has made an application to the Hong Kong stock exchange for trading in its shares to resume at 9am on Monday, following Wednesday’s publication of a ruling by the SFC’s Takeovers and Mergers panel.
Trading in shares of Hong Kong’s largest free-to-air broadcaster have been suspended since April 28, pending the release of what TVB described at the time as “an important announcement.”
The ruling from the panel regarded a so-called whitewash waiver pertaining to the ongoing saga surrounding TVB’s share buyback.
In January, TVB offered to buy back 31.5 per cent of its shares for HK$4.21 billion.
This has proved controversial, and on Thursday Silchester International Investors, a London-based fund which owns 14.1 per cent of TVB, reiterated its demand that the broadcaster cancel its buyback offer and pay a special dividend to minority shareholders instead.
Wednesday’s ruling relates to the ownership implications of the buyback, as a group dominated by the company’s largest shareholder has indicated that it would not accept the offer.
Young Lion Holdings, a company controlled by Chinese media magnate Li Ruigang, owns a 26 per cent stake in TVB, and when the shareholdings of related parties are taken into account, this rises to a 29.9 per cent stake in the group.
If the buyback were to proceed and Young Lion and its affiliates did not take up the offer, their stake in the company would rise to 41.2 per cent. This would be deemed to mean that they had acquired control of the group, and would trigger a mandatory offer for all other TVB shares.
Young Lion, via TVB, applied to waive this obligation.
The ruling from the SFC’s panel was that the whitewash waiver should be granted so long as the resolution to approve the buyback offer gained a majority of votes cast at the company’s general meeting, and that the full details of the shareholding and ownership of Young Lion be disclosed.
The panel also said the waiver should not be put before TVB shareholders for a separate vote on the offer.
TVB said that in its filing that it was considering the legal implications of the ruling and that a further statement would be made as soon as possible.