MBK agrees $2.33bn Taiwan exit

The firm will sell its 60% interest in cable-TV operator China Network Systems

MBK Partners, a pan-Asian private equity fund, has sold its 60 percent stake in China Network Systems to a Taiwanese family group, the Wei family, which owns food conglomerate and PepsiCo partner Tingyi Holding Corporation.

The deal is worth about NTD 70 billion ($2.33 billion; €1.77 billion), according to media reports, but is still subject to regulatory approval from Taiwan’s broadcasting regulator who blocked an earlier attempt by MBK to sell the stake.

MBK acquired the stake in CNS in 2007 for about $1.5 billion, although official return information on the deal has not been disclosed.

MBK did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

CNS is one of Taiwan’s main cable television providers, with operations across the country. It offers customers with television, broadband internet and phone services, among others.

Last year, the firm agreed to sell CNS to Taiwanese billionaire Tsai Eng-Ming for $2.4 billion, but it was blocked citing antitrust concerns. Tsai owns a Taiwan-based cable-TV operator, CTiTV, and a local newspaper, China Times.

MBK, which invests in North Asia, closed its third private equity vehicle on its $2.67 billion hard cap last October, having been “vastly oversubscribed”, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Private Equity International earlier.

The firm raised the fund in less than a year, with all major LPs from the previous vehicle re-upping for the fund, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Several new LPs, including a number of US state pension plans, also signed on as well as European and Asian institutional investors, providing a “well-rounded global base”, PEI’s source said.