ATV seeks shareholding change

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am

The tussle between shareholders of Asia Television took a new twist yesterday when the Broadcasting Authority received the broadcaster's application for changes to its shareholding structure.

The media watchdog confirmed it received one application from ATV.

It was filed after Monday's ATV board meeting at which a share transfer proposal from mainland property tycoon Wong Ching (also known as Wang Zheng) was endorsed.

People familiar with the board's operation say Wong named investment partner Wong Ben-koon, chairman of listed company Prosperity International Holdings, in the application. It is understood that Wong Ben-koon's wife, surnamed Sheng, is a relative of Wong Ching. Three of ATV board's 10 members are surnamed Sheng.

The two Wongs told the Broadcasting Authority that they have approached Dragon Viceroy and China Light Group to take over their 41.39 per cent stake in ATV. Earlier in March, Wong Ching also conditionally agreed with Payson Cha Mou-sing and his brother Johnson Cha Mou-daid to take over their ATV shares, including 10.75 per cent held by Panfair, and holdings of their other company Pelaka, which holds 51 per cent of the voting shares of biggest shareholder Antenna.

Taiwanese snack tycoon Tsai Eng-meng owns 49 per cent of ATV voting shares and all the economic interests of Antenna, through San Want Media Holdings.

Tsai's camp argued that initially an agreement between Tsai and Cha stated that the latter would transfer 2.75 per cent of Panfair's shares, and 2 per cent of Pelaka's voting shares to Tsai's camp.

But the 10-member board endorsed Wong Ching's application and submitted it to the authority.