Date
23 November 2017
ATV executive director Yip Ka-bo said the HK$30 million investment would be enough to pay for the license fee and overdue staff salaries. Photo: TVB
ATV executive director Yip Ka-bo said the HK$30 million investment would be enough to pay for the license fee and overdue staff salaries. Photo: TVB

ATV crowdfunding plan could be illegal, say experts

Asia Television Ltd. is appealing to the public to save the beleaguered broadcaster by buying out the 10.75 percent stake of major shareholder Wong Ben-koon.

Calling the initiative “one person, one share to save ATV”, executive director Yip Ka-bo said if 3,000 Hong Kong people were to invest HK$10,000 each in the cash-strapped television company, they could raise HK$30 million, which is enough to pay for the license fee and overdue staff salaries.

The plan, however, has drawn criticism from several quarters, who pointed out that it could be in violation of laws governing public offering of shares. 

Any plan to change the ownership structure of the company must first secure approval from the Telecommunications Authority, according to Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung.

Wong has agreed to sell his stake and lend the proceeds to the broadcaster to settle its financial obligations, Yip said.

Future investors who want to acquire Wong’s stake may buy back the shares from the public, he added.

Legislators Ronny Tong Ka-wah and James To Kun-sun, both lawyers, said Yip’s proposal constitutes collective investment which needs approval from the Securities and Futures Commission.

Without such regulatory approval, the proposed transaction would be deemed illegal, they said.

Translation by Vey Wong

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

VW/JP/CG

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