Carlyle plan to sell Kbro stake said to have stalled

6 Apr 2010

Carlyle Group’s planned sale of a USD1 billion stake in Kbro to Taiwan Mobile may be delayed until the government eases restrictions on state ownership of media companies, two people involved with the discussions are reported by Bloomberg as saying. Taiwan Mobile, which the government partially owns through Fubon Financial Holding, may extend the 30 June deadline to buy control of the cable television operator, the people said, asking not to be identified because of confidentiality agreements. Neither side expected the restrictions to obstruct the deal when negotiations began last year.

The rules hamper Taiwan Mobile’s plans to overtake China Network Systems and Taiwan Broadband Communications to become the largest operator in a market where more than 80% of homes tune in to cable TV. The NCC is in talks with the Cabinet to allow government-related entities to indirectly own as much as 10% of media companies, Commissioner Lee Ta-sung said.

Washington-based Carlyle, the world’s second-largest buyout firm, bought control of Eastern Multimedia, which includes the cable TV unit that was renamed Kbro, for USD1.5 billion in 2006.