Purchase of shares in ABN by Eswaran

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PETALING JAYA: Businessman Datuk K K Eswaran will emerge as the major shareholder in Asian Broadcasting Network Sdn Bhd (ABN), holding between 60% and 70% equity stake in the new digital cable television company that is set to launch its services soon.

Those in the know say that an announcement on the purchase of shares in ABN by Eswaran is likely to be made over the next few days.

It is not known what vehicle Eswaran would be using to buy the shares in ABN but sources say it could be his family-owned company, although his main corporate vehicle is Pinehill Pacific Bhd.

Eswaran has been linked to ABN when the company announced plans to roll out digital cable TV services. The link is the two common directors that Nilamas Sdn Bhd and Pinehill has.

They are former top civil servants Tan Sri Mohamad Noor Abdul Rahim and Datuk Nik Mohd Amin Nik Abu Bakar.

The digital cable TV venture was first parked in Nilamas Sdn Bhd, which got the five-year licences to offer the services.

Eswaran was also elected president of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in June 2008.

For the digital cable TV offering, the set-up cost is expected to be more than RM2bil over a five-year period and the company is looking to fund the venture via a 40:60 equity-debt combination.

It has Motorola Mobility of the United States as its main technical partner and Fibrecom as its backhaul provider. The company has signed several agreements with content providers.

ABN has set up a broadcasting centre in Puchong and it aims to offer affordable pay-TV services with some 100 channels at launch, and over 200 channels within two years of operations.

It is also wiring up parts of the country with coaxial fibre as part of its last-mile fibre connectivity to enable users to subscribe to its digital TV services.

Recently, it submitted a bid to buy over Jaring Communications Bhd because ABN, apart from providing entertainment, information and education offerings, also plans to offer data services.

It wants to ride on Jaring’s network to offer data services and its proposal also allows Jaring to expand its reach to homes with the last-mile connectivity via fibre. – The Star