MBK Partner To Exit From CNS In Trade Sale

Taiwanese conglomerate Ting Hsin International Group has agreed to acquire a majority stake in local cable TV operator China Network Systems Co. (CNS) from Asian private equity firm MBK Partners, according to media reports.

Details of the investment are not disclosed, but media reports have put the deal at between US$2 billion to US$2.33 billion.

The transaction will provide MBK Partners an exit through a trade sale from an investment it made seven years ago.

MBK Partners, with US$6.3 billion under management and with offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong, invested in Taipei-based CNS in 2007.

MBK Partners previously planned to sell its 60% stake in CNS to Tsai Eng-ming, chairman of Chinese snack maker Want Want Group, for US$2.4 billion. The deal was halted last year as Taiwan regulators expressed concerns about Want Want’s existing media holdings.

CNS is the largest cable television and broadband multiple-systems operator (MSO) in Taiwan, with approximately 1.2 million subscribers. CNS, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates a fully built-out 888MHz hybrid fiber-coaxial plant that covers over two million households.

Ting Hsin is the controlling shareholder of Hong Kong-listed Tingyi Holding Corp., which produces the popular Master Kong instant noodles and various beverages. The plan to acquire CNS is part of Ting Hsin’s long-term strategic transition to diversify from its core food and beverage sector to other industries such as lifestyle services.

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