Shaw, TVB dispute selling off stake

Companies say there's no deal with Country Garden chair

HONG KONG -- Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) and Television Broadcasts disputed reports that it has reached an agreement to give a 26% stake to Chinese property developer Country Garden chairman Yeung Kwok-keung, the companies said Wednesday.

The companies reaffirmed that major TVB shareholders Shaw Brothers are in negotiations with undisclosed parties for a possible sale of Shaw Brothers shares, as announced May 14, but asserted that no agreement has been reached.

It was reported in the Financial Times on Tuesday that Country Garden chairman Yeung has secured a 26% interest in Hong Kong-listed TVB from Shaw Brothers for more than HK$10 billion ($1.28 billion). The Financial Times cited sources close to the negotiations who said TVB founder and chairman Sir Run Run Shaw stipulated that the deal be worth at least HK$10 billion and financed by cash.

With broadcast rights in China, TVB is one of the most popular television networks in southern China and owns the largest library of Cantonese-language content in the world.

Yeung rose from his humble beginnings as a farmer in property development in the early 1990s. Last year, he transferred to his daughter his Country Garden shares, which are now worth HK$6 billion ($771 million). Yeung will reportedly receive a HK$3 billion ($386 million) loan from Hong Kong's Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-Kee and will mortgage the 26% stake in TVB to collect a further HK$4.8 billion ($617 million) for the buyout.