South Korean buyout heavyweight MBK Partners’ sale of its Taiwanese cable TV business hit another hurdle this week after its buyer said it may pull out of the deal after incurring losses of over $300m from delays in the regulatory approval.
The Seoul-based MBO specialist agreed to sell China Network Systems (CNS) to media and manufacturing conglomerate Want Want in October 2010 after buying the business in 2007 for $1.5bn, although regulatory delays have hindered the process.
At a recent public hearing attended by Reuters, the buyer group led by Want Want urged the regulator to make up its mind, adding that the stalling of a decision had cost them an extra T$10bn ($342m) payment to MBK.
“It has caused a big loss for us and it might lead to contract termination because the deadline will pass,” Chao Yu-pei, a spokesman for the buyer, told Reuters.
The sale was also delayed recently after pro-China political comments by Want Want’s chairman plunged the deal in controversy.
Doubts over whether the deal would go through were raised in January after Want Want chairman Tsai Yen-ming told the Washington Post he could not wait for Taiwan and China to unify, angering regulators sensitive to mainland influence on Taiwan’s media.
Democratic Taiwan has banned mainland entities from investing in the media industry for fear that China will eventually attempt to take back the country’s independence.
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