Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Media Prima To Set-up Media Fund To Expand Regionally

Our Media Conglomerate, Media Prima is moving regionally!

The full article is quoted from Bernama


Media Prima To Set-up Media Fund To Expand Regionally

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Bernama) -- Media Prima Bhd (MPB) will set up an equity private fund called MPB Strategic Media Fund Limited Partnership (Media Fund) which aims to raise US$100-150 million with an investment horizon of five to seven years in media assets across South East Asian and other Asian emerging markets.

Its group managing director and chief executive officer, Abdul Rahman Ahmad said that the Media Fund will be MPBs vehicle for its regional expansion plans in line with its strategy to grow and diversify the groups earnings and enhance shareholders value.

"The fund will be specifically looking at Asean countries. The first investment will be in the Philippines and we are also looking at other markets like Indonesia and Vietnam," he said at a media briefing on the company's expansion plan here Tuesday.

In Philippines, MPB will establish a subsidiary, namely MPB Primedia Inc (Primedia), that will soon enter into a block airtime and consultancy agreement with the ABC5 TV network, one of the television networks in the Philippines.

Upon the inception of the Media Fund, MPBs shareholdings and interests in Primedia will be transferred to the Media Fund.

Under a long term block airtime agreement with ABC5, Primedia will provide content and manage the sale of airtime of ABC5.

At same time, ABC5 will also undertake a repositioning and launch exercise as well as transmission quality upgrade, which Primedia will assist under the consultancy agreement to ensure its success.

Abdul Rahman also said that MPB will be the anchor investor and had an intention to secure other domestic and international financial and strategic investors.

"Yes, we are talking with both locals as well as internationals, these are very reputable and credible media companies and financial investors. But, we are not able to name those parties until the closing of the fund," he said, adding the company will provide the details once the fund is finalised.

Meanwhile, group chief executive officer, Television Networks of MPB, Datuk Seri Farid Ridzuan said that the company had also received enquiries from other countries to manage their funds.

"We are also received enquiries from other countries, particularly from Central Asia, neighbouring countries as well as Northern Asia."

MPB shall also be the Media Funds fund manager (via the setting up of a fund management company) responsible for ensuring that the fund and media assets are properly managed and achieve significant increase in value.

Macquarie Capital Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (MCSM) has been appointed by MPB as the lead financial adviser to assist in establishing and raising funds from potential investors for the Media Fund.

Abdul Rahman said that the company is excited about the growth opportunities in ABC5 and Philippines and intend to adopt similar strategies that led to the turnaround success of all its television networks in Malaysia.

"However, Primedia will be managed by a team of local professional managers, consistent with Media Funds philosophy to have local management in its country of investment," he added.

Primedia will be appointing a new local Philippines chief executive officer, a person with extensive experience working in an MNC within the creative industry.

Farid Ridzuan is proposed to be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the MPB fund management company as well as the CEO of Media Prima International Division.

Farid has been given the credit of transforming TV3 into the leading TV station in Malaysia and being instrumental in the successful turnaround of 8TV, ntv7 and more recently TV9.

He will also remain as group chief executive officer, MPB Television Networks responsible over the four television networks, TV3, 8TV, ntv7 and TV9.

Other movements within the Group include Datuk Amrin Awaluddin, the current CEO of ntv7, moving to TV3 to take over from Farid as chief executive officer of TV3 while Datuk Anthony Firdauz Bujang, the current director of operations, TV3, will move to fill the position of chief executive officer of ntv7.

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