Tue, 09 May 2000

Bhakti intends to take over `SCTV'

JAKARTA (JP): Publicly listed PT Bhakti Investama plans to take over ownership of private television station PT Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) from its other existing shareholders, a source has said.

Datacom Asia's lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea said here over the weekend negotiations on the takeover plan were underway. Datakom is a shareholder in the television station.

"Bhakti plans to acquire 100 percent of Mitrasari and Datakom's shares in SCTV," he was quoted by Bisnis Indonesia as saying.

The television operator is 52.5 percent owned bt PT Mitrasari Persada, a company jointly owned by chairman of the Napan Group Henry Pribadi and cousin of former president Soeharto, Sudwikatmono. Datacom owns 47.5 percent.

Bhakti Investama, which serves as one of the investment vehicles of prominent American fund manager George Soros, acquired Mitrasari in a debt to equity swap with the company's shareholders, making it the majority shareholder in the television station.

Shareholders approved in November last year the proposal to inject Rp 100 billion in fresh capital into the television station but Datacom failed to meet its commitment to inject more equity, resulting in the dilution of its stake to 26.85 percent. Mitrasari's stake increased to 73.15 percent.

Datakom opposed the change in ownership, saying it did not agree with the capital increase proposal.

Hotman said there had been an initial agreement between Mitrasari and Datakom to settle the dispute over the ownership of their stake in the television station.

Bhakti, which controlled the television station through Mitrasari, was also involved in the initial agreement, he said.

But Bhakti's president Hary Tanoesodibjo declined to comment about the agreement. (07)