Taiwan approves takeover of EBC TV group by property developer

Taiwan approves takeover of EBC TV group by property developer

NCC approves EBC takeover. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Property developer Mao Te International Investment Co. (茂德國際) has received a green light from the National Communications Commission (NCC, 國家通訊傳播委員會) to take over Eastern Broadcasting Co. (EBC, 東森電視) for NT$12.3 billion (US$422 million) in a move likely to conclude years of failed attempts, reports said Wednesday.

Because 65 percent of the shares in EBC are owned by Carlyle Group of the United States, the NCC had to give a ruling on the transaction, and after a meeting Wednesday morning it announced it had approved. The takeover also involves a stake of 21.32 percent held in EBC by Eastern Media International, but because this would be a domestic transaction, it did not need an NCC review, the Liberty Times reported.

During hearings leading up to the NCC decision, Mao Te Chairman Chang Kao-shiang (張高祥) reportedly promised he would respect the independence of the news service and pay beginning employees at least NT$30,000 (US$1,000) per month.

Previous attempts to sell off EBC, which includes at least 15 TV channels, met with vetoes from the NCC either because of the presumed close China ties of the prospective buyers, or due to doubts about their independence and impartiality.

The Investment Commission at the Ministry of Economic Affairs still has to have its say about the deal, according to Central News Agency reports.