Billionaire Lee Shau-Kee’s Son May Buy Stake in TVB

Henderson Land Development Co., chairman Lee Shau-kee
Lee Shau-kee, chairman of Henderson Land Development Co. Photographer: Timothy O'Rourke/Bloomberg

Henderson Land Development Co. Vice Chairman Lee Ka-kit, son of the company’s billionaire founder Lee Shau-kee, may buy a stake in Television Broadcasts Ltd., the developer said.

Lee Ka-kit is studying a plan for the possible investment which is unrelated to the company or to unit Henderson Investment Ltd., Bonnie Ngan, a spokeswoman at the developer, said by phone today. Lee Shau-kee hasn’t held talks with TVB Chairman Run Run Shaw’s Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Ltd. about the stake, Ngan said. Lee Ka-kit’s interest is preliminary and no agreement has been reached, she said.

Henderson Investment earlier surged to its highest in more than two years in Hong Kong trading after Apple Daily said Chairman Lee Shau-kee may pay more than HK$9 billion ($1.2 billion) to buy control of Television Broadcasts. The company known as TVB operates the city’s biggest TV station, with a more than 80 percent share of the local free-to-air TV advertising market, according to consultants Media Partners Asia Ltd.

“Investors are trading on speculation that Henderson Investment will be the vehicle to buy TVB,” said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “I don’t know why Henderson is interested in TVB. Profit for property development is much higher than that of the entertainment business.”

Lee Shau-kee reached an agreement to buy the controlling stake in TVB held by Shaw, Apple Daily reported on Sept. 25, citing people it didn’t identify. Lee, ranked as Hong Kong’s second-richest man by Forbes magazine, controls the city’s main piped gas utility and the fourth-biggest local property developer by market value.

Shares Surge

Henderson Investment climbed 25 percent to 90 Hong Kong cents, the highest closing price since May 2008, in Hong Kong trading today. The shares surged as much as 35 percent earlier in the day. Henderson Land rose 2.9 percent to HK$54.85.

Chairman Shaw’s Shaw Holdings Inc. is in preliminary talks with “interested parties” about the possible sale of shares in Shaw Brothers, owner of a 26 percent stake in TVB, the broadcaster said in a filing today. No agreement has been reached, according to the filing, which didn’t give details of the prospective buyers.

TVB was suspended today after jumping 17 percent in pre-market trading pending the filing. The stock will resume trading tomorrow.

TVB’s Controlling Shareholder

Shaw, 102, is the biggest shareholder in TVB with a 32.5 percent stake, according to TVB’s interim report last month. That’s valued at about HK$5.7 billion, based on TVB’s market capitalization of HK$17.43 billion on Sept. 24.

Lee Shau-kee’s estimated wealth of $18.5 billion ranks him behind only Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd. Chairman Li Ka-shing among Hong Kong’s richest, according to a Forbes magazine survey in March. Lee controls Henderson Land and Hong Kong and China Gas Co.

Shaw, knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, co-founded TVB in 1967 after his Shaw Brothers became a leading local film producer. In October 2008, he abandoned talks to sell his stake in TVB because of the global recession, the broadcaster said in a filing at the time.

TVB is one of the world’s biggest producers of Chinese-language programs, with distribution in more than 30 countries, according to its website.

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