* Bakrie Group offering 51 pct stake in media unit-sources
* Bakrie Group is looking at $1.2-$2 bln valuation-sources
* Sale part of the plan to buy back coal assets-sources
By Janeman Latul and Fathiya Dahrul
JAKARTA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s politically influential Bakrie family is in talks to sell its majority interest in media unit PT Visi Media Asia to help finance a plan to buy back coal assets from London-listed Bumi Plc, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The move to sell the media assets underscores the Bakrie family’s determination to hang onto its crown jewel, Asia’s biggest thermal coal exporter PT Bumi Resources.
The Bakries set up Bumi with British financier Nat Rothschild in 2010, but the two sides fell out and look likely to go their separate ways.
The family wants to swap its 23.8 percent stake in Bumi for part of the minority share in Bumi Resources, buying out the remainder of that asset with $278 million in cash. It would then be out of London-listed Bumi, taking the asset.
“It’s a difficult decision for the Bakries but they are rational businessmen and this could be one of the ways to raise funds,” said one of the sources with direct knowledge of the sale plan.
The Bakries are offering around a 51 percent stake in Visi Media, which the family controls via its vehicle CMA Indonesia, one of the sources said.
The process has been going on for the past two months with local bidders, including MNC Group, CT Corp and PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi, the sources said.
Visi Media CEO Erick Tohir told Reuters he was unaware of the plan. Representatives of the Bakrie family and MNC Group were not immediately available for comment.
MNC Group, owned by tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo and the country’s biggest media company, appear to be the leading bidder for the deal, the sources said, adding the winner could be announced over the next few days.
The Bakries are looking for a valuation of $1.2 billion to $2 billion for their media unit, though Visi Media’s current market capitalisation is only $845 million, the sources said.
The sources declined to be named because details have not yet been made public. Visi has two national TV stations and a news website. The Bakries have a majority stake.
The family scion Abdurizal Bakrie is a contender for next year’s presidential election and head of the powerful Golkar party. Without the TV stations, he will lose what has been an important vehicle for promoting his campaign.