ATV may take dramatic turn to become web-based TV

ATV’s drama continues as two “white knight” investors from China have offered to lend up to HK$800 million to save the embattled broadcaster just three weeks before the expiry of its free-to-air licence.

Co-Prosperity (協盛協豐), a Mainland-based fabric printing and dyeing firm, has agreed to offer a HK$300 million bid for China Cultural Media Group, ATV’s main shareholder, to maintain the insolvent broadcaster’s operation.

Earlier in December 2015, the China-listed company agreed to invest HK$100 million in new programmes as part of a tripartite agreement with China Cultural Media Group and ATV.

Co-Prosperity CEO Ip Ka-po stepped down as executive director of ATV in late 2015 due to the company failing to pay wages.

Meanwhile, e-commerce outlet China Trends Holdings (中國趨勢), as one of ATV’s creditors, has offered to lend HK$500 million to the cash-strapped station in a takeover bid once approved by liquidator Deloitte.

In the company’s statement on 8 March, China Trends Holdings proposes to inject its “existing web-based interactive TV platform into ATV” to develop an e-commerce TV business.

The company’s chairman and CEO Xiang Xin (向心) said in the statement that “the interactive TV platform under investment has integrated both e-commerce and media functions”.

“The company aims to become the first Mainland new e-commerce media with ‘watching and purchasing, refund all you pay’.”

China Trends Holdings pledges to pay wages for ATV’s employees in cash as well as the charges of the liquidator as of 1 April 2016.

As ATV’s free-to-air licence is expiring on 1 April, China Trends Holdings plans to gain ATV’s landing rights in the Pearl River Delta zone to launch web-based TV services.