Business

Hary Tanoe in talks to
buy Bakrie’s TV station

After taking over its toll roads and a property unit, media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s MNC Group will likely buy one of the Bakrie Group’s television stations.

Sources said that publicly listed Visi Media Asia (VIVA) which is controlled by the Bakrie family, would sell its majority stake in PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi, which operates ANTV television station.

VIVA has reached an initial agreement with MNC to purchase ANTV. “The deal was completed last week,” one of the sources said. The acquisition would be carried out in stages that would finally lead to the sale of VIVA’s entire stake in the TV station, the source added.

MNC Group director David Fernando Audy confirmed that the company was in talks with VIVA and hoped the deal could be closed by the end of the month. Reuters reported on Wednesday, the deal is estimated to be valued at US$500 million.

VIVA finance director Charlie Kasim said that besides MNC, there were several other companies that had approached VIVA to buy ANTV.

 “Several negotiations took place in the last few months,” Charlie told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

VIVA holds a 99.99 percent stake in Cakrawala Andalas Televisi, which had assets worth a total
Rp 1.03 trillion as of the end of March, according to the parent company’s first quarter financial statement of the year.

VIVA currently has two television stations — ANTV and the more popular TVOne, which focuses on news. VIVA also owns news portal Vivanews.

Charlie said that ANTV contributed almost 50 percent, equal with TVOne, to the group’s total revenue.

“Therefore, we actually have no urgency to release our units, neither TVOne, ANTV or Vivanews, as all of them are performing very well,” Charlie said on Wednesday.

Should the deal be completed, MNC Group will have a greater presence in the free-to-air television industry. Its PT Media Nusantara Citra, whose shares are traded on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the code, MNCN, already has three television stations, RCTI, MNCTV and Global TV.

Hary Tanoe, who recently joined political party Hanura, is a close friend of Aburizal Bakrie, the chairman of the Golkar Party who is set to run in the 2014 presidential race.

Previously, the Bakrie family sold a number of its important assets to raise funds to buy back its main coal company, PT Bumi Resources, from London-listed Bumi plc.

The family agreed to take back its assets under a share swap deal and cash transaction worth $278 million.

MNC Land, part of MNC Group, also recently acquired Lido Resort residential complex and five toll road concession permits from the Bakrie family’s property flagship, PT Bakrieland Development for
Rp 3 trillion.

The toll roads includes Kanci-Pejagan, Pejagan-Pemalang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Cimanggis-Cibitung and Ciawai-Sukabumi.

Out of the five projects, only 35 kilometers of Kanji-Pejagan is finished and has been operated since 2010.

Bakrieland has faced difficulties to repay the debts to finance the toll road projects.

Shares in VIVA closed at Rp 410 on Wednesday, increasing 2.5 percent from the previous day, although the benchmark Jakarta Composite Index slipped 0.69 percent. Meanwhile, shares in MNCN dropped 3.14 percent to close at Rp 3,075.

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