Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., the court-appointed agent for Asia Television Ltd. (ATV), said several tenders were received as a deadline expired Monday for sale of a 10.75 percent stake in the troubled Hong Kong broadcaster, Apple Daily reported.
Major shareholder Wong Ben-koon, who is selling the stake, also confirmed that offers have been received from more than one party, the report said. Wong declined to reveal more, citing non-disclosure agreements, it said.
The paper cited sources as saying that more than four companies have outlined their interest in snapping up the ATV stake.
According to Lai Ka-yan, a partner for Southern China at Deloitte, it will take one to two weeks to review and consider the various proposals in terms of their plans to operate the television station and their financial resources to sustain the operations.
ATV senior vice president Yip Ka-bo wrote in a blog post that he has been following up on the matter closely even while he was out of station on trip. He reiterated that he is optimistic about the future of ATV and that the TV station will continue to serve the public.
The executive urged the public to wait for some time to get some good news.
Meanwhile, there has been intense speculation about who could step in as a white knight for the cash-strapped broadcaster.
A spokesperson for K. Wah International Holdings, which has been rumored to be a possible bidder, declined to comment on the matter, while Hong Kong Television Network said it has not put in any proposals, the report said.
Other names that have cropped up include Albert Yeung, chairman of Emperor Group; David Chiu, chairman of Far East Consortium International; and Peter Lam, chairman of Lai Sun Development.
Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said he is worried that employees will remain worried as ATV is yet to pay half of the December salaries for staff. On Feb 2, the Labour Tribunal will conduct hearings on the compensation requests of 88 ATV employees, which will determine whether a winding-down process for ATV could be initiated.
Sources from Deloitte was quoted as saying that despite the receipt of several tenders documents, the key to ATV’s fate still lies in whether major investor Wang Zheng would be willing to slash the HK$2 billion debt that the television station owed him.
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