Carlyle Said to Sell Stake in Taiwan Media Unit for $370 Million

  • DMG Entertainment CEO Mintz said Sunday he's buying the stake
  • Transaction still needs approval from Taiwanese regulators

Carlyle Group LP agreed to sell control of Eastern Broadcasting Co. to a U.S. film producer for about $370 million, allowing the private-equity firm to exit the last of its Taiwanese media investments, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Carlyle is selling its entire 62 percent stake in a deal valuing the Taiwanese broadcaster at about $600 million, the person said, asking not to be identified before the transaction is completed. Dan Mintz, chief executive officer of California-based DMG Entertainment, revealed that he’s buying Carlyle’s shares in a statement Sunday that didn’t disclose any terms.

The sale still needs regulatory approval, according to Mintz. The buyer’s funding sources will need to be disclosed, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement Monday. Brian Zhou, a Beijing-based spokesman for Carlyle, declined to comment.

The Washington-based private-equity firm is selling its stake in Eastern Broadcasting after an initial investment in 2006 that was built into a majority holding two years later. If the sale is approved by regulators, it would complete Carlyle’s exit from a competitive cable-TV industry that offers 277 channels via 56 operators to the about 5 million subscribers in Taiwan.

Most Watched

Eastern Broadcasting owns seven channels featuring news, movies, soap operas and children’s programming. The company’s ETTV is among the “most watched” news channels, according to Taiwan’s cabinet.

Carlyle’s first investment in the island’s cable-TV industry was through a stake in Taiwan Broadband Communications Co. in 1999. It sold out of that in 2006, the same year it paid $1.5 billion to acquire Eastern Multimedia Co., owner of the Kbro cable-TV business. That deal was the largest-ever buyout transaction in Asia excluding Japan at the time. Carlyle sold out of that investment in 2010.

Mintz said in his statement that he plans to use Eastern Broadcasting as an “anchor platform” for global Mandarin-language entertainment, as he noted the “tremendous growth potential” of content in that language around the world.

Reports of the purchase helped drive shares of DMG’s Chinese partner, DMG Entertainment & Media Co., up by the 10 percent daily limit at the close in Shenzhen on Monday. Mintz doesn’t own any equity in the Chinese company, more commonly known as DMG Yinji, and the acquisition has nothing to do with it, a spokesman for California-based DMG Entertainment said, asking not to be named due to company policy.

Military Background

Mintz’s DMG and Yinji, which was listed in 2015 following a reorganization of the DMG brand, are separate companies that continue to work together through a strategic partnership, according to Mintz’s statement on Sunday.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement on Monday it had noted the reports about Mintz’s acquisition plan. While Mintz is a U.S. citizen, because DMG Yinji’s Chairman Xiao Wenge is from a family with a Chinese military background, regulators will “strictly scrutinize” funding sources and shareholder backgrounds if an application is made to acquire Eastern Broadcasting, the ministry said. Xiao is not involved in the acquisition, DMG Entertainment’s spokesman said.

Carlyle’s exit from Taiwan is in step with other international private-equity firms. MBK Partners Ltd. sold China Network Systems Co. this year for $1 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in July, after an almost nine-year investment. EQT Partners AB sold its Gala TV Corp., a smaller Taiwanese cable operator, in July 2014, three years after acquiring the investment.

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