* Deal for 60 pct stake is for $2.4 bln including debt
* Wei family will also tap other businessmen to invest
* Deal is MBK's second attempt to exit CNS
* Wei family will submit paper work to Taiwan regulators
(Adds comments from executive at parent company of Tingyi)
By Denny Thomas and Faith Hung
HONG KONG/TAIPEI, Aug 25 Taiwan's Wei family has
agreed to buy majority control of China Network Systems (CNS),
the island's biggest cable TV operator, for about $2.4 billion
including debt from private equity firm MBK Partners, sources
with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The Wei family, best known for controlling Hong Kong-listed
noodle maker Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp, is
diversifying into telecoms and media. Its new 4G wireless
services firm, Taiwan Star, will begin services this week.
"We hope to create an environment where 4G services and the
cable TV business can work together," said an executive at Ting
Hsin International Group, the parent company of Tingyi.
"Digital convergence is the future for us."
Like other sources, he declined to be identified as the deal
has yet to be officially announced.
The Wei family, which is led by Wei Ying-chiao, will be
making the investment in CNS in a personal capacity and will
also ask other Taiwanese businessmen to invest, two sources
"We won this deal because we worked very hard on this for a
long time," said a person close to the Wei family.
"This is not final yet. We still need the blessing of
If successful, the CNS purchase will rank as Taiwan's
sixth-biggest M&A deal, matching United Arab Emirates
state-owned International Petroleum Investment Corp's
acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Kuokwang Petrochemical Co
Ltd for $2.4 billion in 2005, according to Thomson Reuters data.
MBK owns 60 percent of CNS, which has about 1.2 million
cable TV subscribers and competes with Kbro and several other
small rivals. It was not clear who owns the remaining 40 percent
of CNS. A CNS executive said only that it was held by a single
The person said the Wei family planned to hold more than 50
percent of the company and that businessmen who may be tapped to
invest include H.T. Tsai, the chairman of Cathay Financial
Holding Co and T.C. Gou, the chairman of electronics
parts firm Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co Ltd.
The Wei family beat rival bidders Hon Hai Precision Industry
Co, a key Apple Inc supplier, and Far EasTone
Telecommunications, the person said.
MBK, which made the investment in 2007, did not respond to
an email seeking comment.
This is the Asia-focused buyout firm's second attempt to
sell CNS after regulatory delays helped cause the collapse of a
previous deal with a group led by Want Want China Holdings
, a rice cake maker and owner of a Taiwanese media
A banker working on the deal said the Wei family's personal
investment in the acquisition and lack of other media businesses
is expected help smooth regulatory clearance of the deal. At the
closure of the deal, CNS would have debt of about $1 billion,
the person added.
Morgan Stanley is advising MBK, while UBS AG
is advising the Wei family. Morgan Stanley and UBS
declined to comment.
(1 US dollar = 29.9620 Taiwan dollar)
(Additional reporting by JR Wu and Stephen Aldred; Editing by