Taiwanese lawmakers debate cross-media acquisition

A Taiwanese business tycoon with big holdings in China is looking to buy a cable TV network for US$2.4 billion in Taiwan.


The controversial deal would give Want Want Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng more power in the small democratic nation. His close ties to China are making many in Taiwan worried that “China is using big Taiwanese business interests to advance its agenda of bringing the island back under its control,” the Washington Post reported today.


Political parties on Thursday called for regulations that would not allow firms to own more than 10 percent of the shares in newspapers, TV or radio stations from operating cable TV services or owning more than 10 percent of the shares in cable TV service providers, according to the Taipei Times.


The Want Want Group’s bid for the cable network has led some lawmakers who were neutral on the legislation to now support it.


“I did not know how horrible [cross-media acquisitions] could be, but now I know,” Legislator Lo Shu-lei told the Times.


In 2008, Tsai bought the China Times group of media outlets for $680 million. This includes the China Times daily newspaper, the CTI cable news station and China TV.


Image: Paisawaisa.com

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