Media maverick Ricky Wong sells HKTV stake to affiliated company

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 August, 2017, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 August, 2017, 9:26pm

Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) executive director and chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay agreed to sell his entire 1.88 per cent stake of the broadcaster to a substantial shareholder of another company he co-owns,according to a filing to the stock exchange on Sunday.

Wong, a media maverick in a legal battle with the Hong Kong government to secure a free-to-air TV license, on Saturday sold his entire stake in the listed TV operator at HK$2.77 per share to Top Group, the substantial shareholder of HKTV.

The deal means Wong no longer directly holds any shares of HKTV but he has an indirect interest as co-owner of Top Group with an immediate family member, which the announcement did not identify.

Other Top Group shareholders include Paul Cheng Chi-kin, who is vice-chairman of HKTV, and two independent third parties.

Top Group’s holding in HKTV increased to 43.89 per cent from 42 per cent, the company said.

The deal was settled by Top Group issuing 2,242 ordinary shares to Wong. Immediately after the transaction, Wong transferred 11,651 ordinary shares of Top Group to an undisclosed family member.

The company said this was pursuant to a family arrangement by Wong, who along with the other family member and other existing shareholders will continue to hold Top Group shares.

“The board does not expect the aforementioned transaction to have any significant impact on the business operations and the composition of the management of the group,” the company said.

In July, the telecommunications watchdog Communications Authority had approved Wong’s long-standing application to upgrade the resolution of his mobile TV service.

After being denied a TV licence in 2013, HKTV acquired China Mobile Hong Kong, which had been issued a licence to provide mobile television services in Hong Kong, and changed its name to HKMTV .

Under the new ruling in July, HKMTV will be able to upgrade to the digital format that would allow viewers to watch high-resolution videos. The current platform only supports VCD quality.

The new transmission standard will be adopted by its services within 12 months, allowing audiences to watch its programmes on TV sets or mobile devices with much higher picture quality by installing a designated receiver.