Saturday July 14, 2012
Eswaran buys 55% in ABN Media
By B.K. SIDHU
PETALING JAYA: Businessman Datuk K.K. Eswaran has, for a long time, been linked to the soon-to-be launched digital cable television service ABNxcess but he only surfaced yesterday when he bought a 55% stake in The ABN Media Group Sdn Bhd.
He bought the stake via Allgrow Capital (M) Sdn Bhd, which is privately-owned by his family. When contacted, he declined to say how much he paid for the stake but said that he had plans to get into “the media industry in a big way.’’
“I have taken office at ABN Media and will be spending more time in the business since my family now has a controlling stake in ABN Media,’’ he told StarBizWeek.
In a statement, Eswaran said, “ABN Media plans to create an integrated media group with a diversified portfolio of investments in various media platforms and these platforms will be a combination of traditional and new media.
“We have always sought to empower the rakyat, the industry and the nation through the integration of innovative and future-ready technology products and services and the acquiring of ABN Media drives this vision further.”
Eswaran’s entry into ABN Media confirms a StarBizWeek report that appeared last Saturday. He is now the executive chairman of ABN Media.
ABN Media is the holding company of ABN, which in turn will operate and manage the digital cable TV network. ABN has a five-year licence to offer broadcasting services in the country. ABN is 70% owned by ABN Media and 30% by Tan Sri Mohamad Noor Abdul Rahim via Kurnia Mantap Sdn Bhd.
Mohamad Noor and Nik Mohd Amin are also directors of Pinehill Pacific Bhd, which is Eswaran’s main corporate vehicle.
ABN, formerly known as Nilamas Corp, has established its operations through its broadcast centre in Puchong Gateway, and is scheduled to undertake trial runs for the TV services. ABN is investing RM2bil over five years to bring digital cable TV to Malaysians.
The statement said with the completion of the takeover, the group would push for the first phase roll-out of the ABNxcess service, which will cover the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor with 1.2 million houses expected to be “passed” by mid-2013.
It had targeted 17 prime locations in the next 24 months throughout the country for the digital cable TV services and subsequently, high-speed broadband Internet and voice services, making it a true triple-play provider, the statement said.
ABNxcess, which has a tagline “Access for All”, will initially offer over 100 channels to inform, educate and entertain Malaysians, and it would be offered at affordable rates.
“The technology of the network ensures uninterrupted services in any weather and room for more upgrades and expansions,’’ it said.