Dow Jones takes 29pc stake in ABN

THE Asian satellite television wars heated up further yesterday with Dow Jones and Co taking a 29.5 per cent stake in Singapore-based Asia Business News (ABN).

Business News Network of Hongkong has reduced its holding from 18 per cent to 1.5 per cent to welcome Dow Jones on board.

Other partners were also prepared to reduce their stakes, believing that Dow Jones would add weight to their cause.

ABN, established in March, plans to begin broadcasting Asia-wide business, financial and economic news in the last quarter of the year in direct competition with Wharf Cable TV's forthcoming Business Channel.

It will draw on the worldwide news resources of Dow Jones and its publications, including the Asian Wall Street Journal and Far Eastern Economic Review.

William Earl, ABN's acting chief executive, would not reveal how its service would be distributed in Hongkong nor the precise launch date for fear of tipping off the competition.

Its Singapore headquarters are being equipped and 100 editorial and management staff being recruited.

News bureaus in Hongkong and other major Asian cities are planned.

Dow Jones, which has offices in Hongkong, will provide ABN with access to its news wires and staff.

Wall St Journal Television, the Dow Jones news unit in New York, will provide ABN with US financial news.

Dow Jones, Television New Zealand and Telecommunications Inc of the United States will each own 29.5 per cent, SIM Ventures of Singapore 10 per cent, and Business News Network of Hongkong 1.5 per cent.