Well...well... It seems WantWant Corporation, which was aiming to become the biggest player in Taiwan's frenetic media market, is rejecting the conditions of the deal. It doesn't want to sell CTI television nor will it alter the status of CTV. Will the NCC hang tough and make WantWant take its ball and go home? Or are the princess and the Wookie going to be put on Vader's ship? Stay tuned for the next installment of the WantWant empire strikes back!...
The National Communications Commission (NCC) two days ago approved, with three conditions for terminating the license and 25 further stipulations, the acquisition bid by Want Want China Broadband (旺中寬頻), which is affiliated with the Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團), to buy up the China Network Service (CNS/中嘉網路), the country’s second-largest multiple-system operator, which owns eleven cable TV service providers.The NCC has staked out its position, which on the surface is correct -- it is preventing media monopoly. Is it going to hang tough? Will it fold in the face of corporate opposition to its announced public-oriented policy? Or is this prearranged political theatre that will result in WantWant getting what it wants, which is what the NCC intended all along? Only time will tell....
However, the prospects for the deal going forward made an abrupt U-turn after just one night. Chao Yu-pei (趙育培), special assistant to the chairman of Want Want China Broadband, yesterday said that the Want Want China Times Group could not accept the NCC’s conditions, saying that “The company will not sell CTI Television Inc. (中天電視台) or alter the operating status of China Television Co. (CTV, 中視).” He went on to stress that “The NCC does not have any legal authority to demand that we delink the Want Want China Times Group and CTI, or change CTV’s operating status. The deal still has some variables.”
Nonetheless, NCC chairperson Su Herng (蘇蘅) had already clearly expressed the NCC’s stance two days ago that if the Want Want China Times Group could not accept conditions they had set, the NCC would not approve the acquisition.
Su said that she believed that the three conditions for terminating the license were important measures to assuage concerns that the acquisition would limit speech and lead to a media monopoly.....
If you want a glimpse of the kind of world WantWant seeks to build, the Taipei Times has food for thought this week:
On Friday, the Chinese-language China Times, China Times Weekly and local news channel CTiTV — all members of Want Want Group — ran stories with pictures showing student protesters taking money after a rally outside the National Communications Commission (NCC) building.Scary, eh?
Although the media outlets provided no evidence to back up their claims, the three outlets reported that Academia Sinica research fellow Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) may have been involved in paying the students.
Huang had organized a separate demonstration at the same time as the student rally in front of the NCC building because the commission was reviewing the merger at that time. However, reports from the China Times, China Times Weekly and CTiTV did not differentiate between the two demonstrations.
Although Huang organized a press conference denying that he had any connection with the student protest, the media group continued to accuse him of “not wanting to clarify the incident,” while saying he was “not willing to disclose the truth.”
Yesterday, several media outlets, including the Chinese-language Apple Daily, claimed to have discovered the identity of a woman who handed out money to students on Wednesday.
The woman, identified as Liang Li-hui (梁麗惠), is an accountant at Chinsen Communications Co.
While reporters were unable to contact her, Liang’s colleagues said that although they did not know who had hired the company to recruit students, they were certain it was not Huang.
Netizens are increasingly voicing suspicions that Want Want Group may be behind the incident and using it as a way to stigmatize opponents of the takeover.
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