The Tsai family, which controls Taiwan Mobile and its parent, may buy USD1 billion of assets in cableco Kbro from Carlyle Group, pending easing of restrictions on state ownership of media companies. Taiwan Mobile, the nation’s second-largest phone operator, failed to complete the same deal by yesterday’s deadline because Fubon Financial Holding, one of its shareholders, is partly state-owned. State rules bar any government-related entity from owning shares in media companies such as Kbro. The regulator, National Communications Commission (NCC) in January proposed that the government be allowed to indirectly own as much as 10% of media companies. The plan needs legislative approval.
Last September Taiwan Mobile agreed to buy unlisted Kbro from Carlyle for USD1 billion in cash and stock. Carlyle would sell its holding in Kbro for a 15.5% stake in Taiwan Mobile and NTW440 million (USD14 million) in cash. Alternatives are being considered as both companies have strong intent to complete the transaction, Taiwan Mobile said yesterday in a stock exchange filing.