South Korean private equity group MBK Partners has been trying to unload Taiwan’s biggest cable TV operator for years, with the latest attempt being a bid of NT$17.12 billion (US$530 million) by Far Eastern Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (Far EasTone) with Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia.
A month ago, the New Power Party submitted a proposal to the Legislative Yuan to suspend the review procedure until after the May 20 handover of power to a new government. It was referred to negotiation, which according to the rules of the Legislature, means that talks between the caucuses can take place without a major decision being reached for a month.
As that period elapsed Friday, the issue came up for a vote at the full 113-seat Legislature. As Kuomintang legislators were protesting against another vote on an education subject, the vote on the CNS review went ahead, with a result of 72 in favor of the motion and none against. The supporters of the motion were lawmakers from the NPP and the Democratic Progressive Party, reports said.
The CNS takeover won the conditional approval of the Fair Trade Commission last December and of the National Communications Commission last January. Their conditions included promises to invest considerable amounts in new technology and restrictions on Far EasTone control over seats on the board of directors and over the company’s operations and management.
Previous attempts by the Want Want China Times Group and Ting Hsin International to buy CNS were rejected or failed to materialize.