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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Billionaire close to getting loan to buy Shaw Brothers

CHINESE real estate billionaire Yeung Kwok Keung will get a bank loan soon to buy Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Ltd, which controls Hong Kong’s largest television company, two people familiar with the deal said.

The long-term debt funding of about HK$7 billion (US$896 million) will be concluded within five to 10 days after arranger Citigroup Inc gets a number of banks to jointly offer the loan, said the people, who declined to be identified before an announcement.

The debt-funding will boost Yeung’s ability to offer at least HK$10 billion for Shaw Brothers and gain 26 per cent of Television Broadcasts Ltd, the world’s biggest producer of Chinese-language programs.

Henderson Land Development Co chairman Lee Shau-kee has agreed to provide HK$3 billion to Yeung for the purchase, the Standard newspaper reported last month, citing people it didn’t identify.

“There is some important synergy between the Chinese real estate development business and TV business here,” said Kenny Tang, director of Tung Tai Securities Co in Hong Kong.

“Developers in China spend a lot of money putting advertisements on TV stations in Hong Kong. They’re a major customer.”

Kung Fu Movies

Yeung is bidding for Shaw Brothers on his own rather than through Country Garden Holdings Co, the Chinese real estate developer of which he’s chairman. Yeung’s daughter Yang Huiyan, who owns 58.5 per cent of Country Garden, is the richest person in China, according to Forbes magazine in November.

James Griffiths, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Citigroup, and Callis Lau, a public relations consultant for Country Garden, declined to comment. TVB spokeswoman Winnie Ho declined to comment.

Sir Run Run Shaw, 100, owns 75 per cent of Shaw Brothers and controls an additional 6.2 per cent of the TV operator through the Shaw Foundation Hong Kong Ltd, his charity.

Run Run Shaw made China’s first film in 1924 and popularised kung fu movies around the world. The Shaw Brothers Studio he founded with his now-deceased brothers made the cult futuristic film “Bladerunner.”

By Bloomberg

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