July 10, 2015 / 8:30 AM / 4 years ago

Taiwan's Far Eastone to buy China Network Systems for $2.3 billion

HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s Far Eastone Telecommunications Co Ltd and Morgan Stanley’s private equity unit will buy Taiwanese network TV operator China Network Systems (CNS) for $2.3 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the deal said on Friday.

The deal, if completed, would be the first major consolidation in Taiwan’s telecoms and media sector since 2010. It would also mark a profitable exit for South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners, which bought a majority stake in CNS for $1.5 billion in 2006.

Far Eastone and Morgan Stanley would fund the deal via a $950 million bond issue, as well as a $1.5 billion loan, the source said. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, they added.

Far Eastone spokeswoman Yaling Lang said she could not confirm or deny that a deal was imminent. Morgan Stanley declined to comment while MBK and CNS could not be immediately reached for comment.

Citigroup is acting as the sole advisor to Far Eastone, Thomson Reuters publication Basis Point has previously reported.

MBK has tried twice to sell its stake in CNS.

In 2010, Taiwan’s regulators blocked a $2.4 billion sale bid by a group led by Want Want China Holdings and last year, Taiwan’s Wei family said it would buy CNS for $2.4 billion in a deal that was never completed.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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