Major shareholders of Asia Television Ltd. (ATV) are in talks to sell their stakes and a decision will be made soon, the company said.
The loss-making free-to-air television broadcaster said it has insufficient funds to pay employees their salary for September. It apologized to the staff and said that the salary issue will be settled once a decision on the sale is made.
A former news anchor, Li Chan-wing, said on his Facebook page last month that according to reliable sources, ATV has been sold and is awaiting approval for the deal, the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, reported Wednesday.
But Wong Ben-koon, the largest shareholder in ATV, denied the rumor about the sale in an interview with Apple Daily.
In May, reports said Albert Yeung Sau-shing, chairman of Emperor Group, would pay HK$500 million (US$64.47 million) for ATV. But the deal did not materialize because of a disagreement on the selling price.
A major problem about selling the TV station is the dispute between different major shareholders.
Payson Cha and Victor Cha have applied to sell the business but executive director James Shing Pan-yu and another shareholder, Wang Zheng, then paid more than HK$200 million to the Cha brothers and cancelled the application to sell the business.
ATV said on Tuesday that it had communicated many times with shareholders and possible lenders about paying its employees but has not succeeded so far.
The TV station also said in June that it could not pay employees because of the application to sell the business.
Meanwhile, Susie Ho, permanent secretary for commerce and economic development, said that she is not sure about whether the bureau will postpone ATV’s application to renew its license.
She also did not respond to whether the bureau will contact ATV, according to a separate report by RTHK.
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