billionaire henry cheng to take control of pay-tv operator i-cable amid spotlight on hong kong media assets

Billionaire Henry Cheng Kar-shun is sinking HK$316.4 million (US$40.6 million) to take full control of pay-TV operator i-Cable Communications to turn around 13 years of losses amid heightened interest in media assets in Hong Kong. The stock surged on the news.

The tycoon, whose family controls New World Development, disclosed an agreement signed in September to pay HK$208.9 million to buy out long-time partners David Chiu Tat-cheong and Li Sze Lim in Forever Top (Asia), the firm that owns 43.2 per cent of the city’s second-largest pay-TV operator.

He will then proceed to make an offer to buy the 56.8 per cent of i-Cable shares from other holders at HK$0.0264 each and cancel as many as 19.9 million stock options, valuing the bid at up to HK$107.5 million, according to an exchange filing late on Tuesday.

The takeover offer represents a 61 per cent discount to the stock’s last traded price of HK$0.068 on September 30. The stock jumped 28 per cent to HK$0.087 when it resumed trading on Wednesday following a five-week suspension.

billionaire henry cheng to take control of pay-tv operator i-cable amid spotlight on hong kong media assets

Cheng is spending HK$316.4 million to take full control of i-Cable. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The transactions represent another interesting move in the Hong Kong media industry. Kwok Hiu-ting, the daughter of Kaisa Group chairman Kwok Ying-shing, bought a controlling stake in publisher Sing Tao News Corp in February for about HK$370 million. Alibaba Group Holding has denied recent rumours about a potential bid for its unit that owns this newspaper.

Cheng and his family members are ranked the third richest in Hong Kong by Forbes with a fortune of US$22.1 billion. Their family assets include stakes in New World, Chow Tai Fook and a handful of property investments in mainland China.

Cheng is paying HK$148 million to buy a 24.5 per cent stake in Forever Top from Chiu, who is the chairman of developer Far East Consortium. He will also pay HK$60.9 million to buy a 16 per cent stake in Forever Top from Li, who is the co-founder of mainland developer Guangzhou R&F Properties.

The purchases will boost Cheng’s interest in Forever Top to 86 per cent. John Huan Zhao of private-equity firm Hony Capital will retain his 14 per cent stake in Forever Top. The consortium took over i-Cable from Wharf (Holdings) in 2017.

Cheng intends to keep i-Cable’s listing status, and has no intention to make major changes to the existing operations and business of the group after the takeover, according to the exchange filing. He may take steps to optimise the value of the group, it added.

Founded in 1999, i-Cable provides broadband internet and pay-TV services. It had 754,000 pay-TV subscribers as of June last year, taking a 38 per cent share of the market, making it the second largest player after Now TV.

I-Cable has lost money every year since 2008, and incurred a HK$175.2 million loss in the first six months this year.

It is required to spend HK$3.45 billion between 2017 and 2023 in capital investment and programming content under a concession that runs until May 2029. It laid off or reassigned some 100 staff last December amid a recession sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Major outage at Amazon disrupts businesses across the US

The Amazon Spheres on the company’s corporate campus are shown near the Space Needle in downtown Seattle, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage Tuesday, the company said, disrupting access to many popular sites. The company provides cloud computing services to many governments, universities and ...

View more: Major outage at Amazon disrupts businesses across the US

Zuckerberg, Chan to invest up to $3.4B for science advances

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan arrive at the 7th annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at the NASA Ames Research Center on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in Mountain View, Calif. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, or CZI, which runs the philanthropy of the couple, announced Tuesday, Dec. 7, ...

View more: Zuckerberg, Chan to invest up to $3.4B for science advances

HNA Group divests aviation unit to strategic investor in business break-up as bankruptcy reorganisation progresses

HNA Group, China’s once high-flying conglomerate, has officially handed its core aviation business to a strategic investor, after breaking up its core businesses under a bankruptcy reorganisation to untangle US$111 billion of debt. The group has carved out the aviation unit including its flagship carrier Hainan Airlines to Liaoning ...

View more: HNA Group divests aviation unit to strategic investor in business break-up as bankruptcy reorganisation progresses

Adele’s Las Vegas shows have reminded so many people why they hate Ticketmaster

A little over a month from now, Adele will kick off a 24-date Las Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace that will net the singer a multimillion-dollar payday. It’s absolutely certain, as much as a thing can be, that each of the shows — held in the intimate Colosseum theater ...

View more: Adele’s Las Vegas shows have reminded so many people why they hate Ticketmaster

China successfully modified the weather to create clear skies, researchers say

Researchers at a Beijing university say China’s weather authorities successfully used weather modification to ensure clear skies during a major celebration this year. The Chinese Communist party celebrated its centenary on July 1 with a major celebration. The celebration took place in Tiananmen Square and included tens of thousands ...

View more: China successfully modified the weather to create clear skies, researchers say

Trading in embattled Chinese developer Kaisa suspended over new default concerns

Trading in shares of embattled Chinese developer Kaisa Group Holdings was suspended on Wednesday amid concerns over whether the home builder will default again. The suspension was “pending the release by the company of an announcement containing inside information”, according to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company is ...

View more: Trading in embattled Chinese developer Kaisa suspended over new default concerns

Hong Kong car parking space transactions to hit record high this year as investors return after stamp duty rollback

A limited supply of car parking spaces in Hong Kong, coupled with the removal of double stamp duty, has whetted investors’ appetite for this corner of the property segment, which is likely to push turnover to an all-time high this year. A total of 9,600 parking spaces in the ...

View more: Hong Kong car parking space transactions to hit record high this year as investors return after stamp duty rollback

Chinese tech stocks extend gains on valuation hunt while Weibo slides below IPO in Hong Kong market debut

Chinese technology stocks extended gains as traders continued to scoop up bargains in the sector that has crashed 26 per cent to record low over the past six months. Weibo slumped in its Hong Kong trading debut. The Hang Seng Tech Index added 0.6 per cent in early Wednesday ...

View more: Chinese tech stocks extend gains on valuation hunt while Weibo slides below IPO in Hong Kong market debut

China’s biggest liquidity injection in three years not a game changer for BCA while HSBC fund sees muted impact

Offices may decamp to Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay amid rental crash in the world’s costliest retail strip

Outlook dims on Kai Tak’s waterfront land as Hong Kong’s Northern Metropolis plan and land conversion add to city’s supply glut

Crypto-Focused 10T Holdings to Raise $500M in New Fund

Google Sues to Shutter Cryptojacking Botnet That Infected 1M+ Computers

Ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt Joins Oracle Provider Chainlink as Strategic Advisor

Crypto Fans Rejoice, Gamers Revolt as Ubisoft Announces NFT Plans

Billionaires' share of global wealth soars during pandemic

American Airlines CEO to step down in March

Overhaul of payments system to cover digital wallets, buy now pay later, cryptocurrency

How US-China monetary policy split could drive dollar gains against the yuan

Scientists discovered an unexpected force that may have helped create life on Earth

OTHER TECH NEWS

;