MUMBAI – 21st Century Fox offers sold its remaining stake in Chinese-language broadcaster Phoenix Satellite Television.
It announced that subsidiary Star Entertainment Holdings had sold its 12. 15% stake to TPG China Media, part of private equity group TPG. The shares were bought at HK$2. 73 each, implying the gross transaction value of $213 million (HK$1. 66 billion). In Mar, the former News Corp unit, marketed a 5. 3% stake to get $92 million in March.
Phoenix was started in 1996 as a joint venture between News Corp. and entrepreneur Liu Changle, who seem to still heads the Hong Kong share market-listed company. It operates the bouquet of Mandarin-language channels, including Phoenix Chinese Channel, Phoenix Movie Channel and Phoenix InfoNews Approach.
The Phoenix disposal marks the apparent end of Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. /21st Century Fox’s ambitions as a broadcaster in China. 3 years ago News Corp. broke up its pan-Asian broadcast group STAR TELEVISION, retaining the Indian operations yet selling off a controlling desire for its Chinese channels to The far east Media Capital, a Chinese state-owned equity group.
Like most western-owned channels, STAR failed to get the ‘landing rights’ that it searched for in China that would have made it freely accessible to the mass landmass Chinese population. Instead it had to be satisfied with a position that made its channels available only in happy locations, such as top tier apartments, hotels and foreigners’ residences.
While the disposal appears to be the setback in China – and it comes at a time when Murdoch and 21st Century Fox are pushing ahead in India through the recently announced sports activities deal with IMG-Reliance – a modifying media landscape may cushion the particular blow. Widespread, high speed internet access plus fast developing online video platforms make individual shows more important compared to linear TV channels.
In China, 21st Century Fox still retains a 19. 9% risk in the NASDAQ-listed Chinese film manufacturer and distributor Bona Film Team.