MBK and TPG-Newbridge to compete for China Networks

Two private equity firms have been shortlisted from an original list of six that included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Goldman Sachs to compete for the acquisition of China Networks Systems, a Taiwanese cable TV operator.

TPG Newbridge, a US private equity firm, and MBK Partners, a North Asia-focused private equity firm, have been shortlisted from an original list of six to participate in the final bidding round for China Networks Systems, according to a source in Taipei.

The four losers in the race for the Taiwanese cable television operator in a transaction estimated to be worth $1.5 billion are Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Goldman Sachs, CVC Asia Pacific and Macquarie Bank. Morgan Stanley is arranging the sale.

China Networks is 80 percent held by the Koo’s Group, a local family-owned business conglomerate. Star Group, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, holds a 20 percent stake in the company.

It has 1.1 billion subscribers, comparable to the market share of a rival operator, Eastern Multimedia, which The Carlyle Group had acquired for $1.5 billion a few months ago. Taiwan’s Investment Commission approved Carlyle’s acquisition in July.