Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Martin Hennecke

Nan Hai casts net over more telcos
Nan Hai Group (0680) chairman Yu Pun-hoi is interested in acquiring the telecom business of Wharf Holdings (0004) as well as i-Cable Communications (1097).

Including pay TV and free TV licenses, as well as broadband business, it is predicted the acquisition would cost about HK$10 billion.

Yu is a founder of online media HK01, targeting to build up a "media kingdom" with online media, newspaper and television broadcasting.

I-Cable recorded a HK$233 million loss in 2015, its eighth year of losses. But its pay-TV business Cable TV still holds 42 percent of viewing share, the largest market share among all TV operators.

Earlier this year, Wharf chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi said it has already invited investors, including telecom companies Hong Kong Broadband Network (1310) and SmarTone Telecommunications (0315), to bid for its telecom businesses.

According to Eastweek, Yu's Nan Hai Group, before planning to invest in i-Cable, acquired DuoWei News in the United States in 2009, which mainly reports China political news, and purchased Ming Pao from its founder Louis Cha Leung-yung in 1990.

Yu also said he invested HK$300 million in HK01. Established last year, it pays high salaries to employ media workers from other firms and publishes a weekly newspaper.

Previously, China magnate Jack Ma Yun bought South China Morning Post for HK$2 billion and Li Ruigang's CMC M&E holds 26 percent equities of Television Broadcast (0511).

The stock price of i-Cable surged 9.38 percent to 70 HK cents yesterday.

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