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||18 March 2010
Holding firm to buy out Malaysian broadcaster Astro
Malaysian satellite broadcaster Astro All Asia Networks plc said Wednesday it would go private after its holding company made a $758 million buyout offer, reported AFP.
Astro, controlled by Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan and state investment firm Khazanah Nasional Bhd, said the move was aimed at "re-energising the company's growth, both locally and internationally."
It said the purchase of the 27.1 percent of the broadcaster that Astro Holdings does not currently own would enable it to pursue expansion of its ventures in China and India, and its new Internet Protocol TV projects.
Astro All Asia Networks (AAAN) chairman Badri Masri said its board received a formal offer Wednesday at a price of 4.30 ringgit, a 24 percent premium over the closing price on March 12 before trade was suspended.
The 2.5 billion ringgit ($758 million) purchase offer values Astro at 8.5 billion ringgit. "AAAN do not foresee any changes with the ongoing operations of the company and that the company will continue to be managed by the current board and management," Badri said.
"As a publicly listed entity substantial capital requirements needed for its growth plans may potentially strain the cash flow position and may impair AAAN's dividend payment capability," the company said in a statement.
It said funds were needed "to accelerate investment in its existing business in India and China and also new initiatives such as IPTV in Australia, Middle East and North Africa."
Ananda Krishnan also controls Malaysia's top mobile operator, Maxis, which was taken private in 2007 before making a strong return to the bourse late last year in Southeast Asia's biggest ever IPO worth 3.3 billion dollars.
Astro said a re-listing would "certainly be considered when AAAN achieves a more stable earnings profile".
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