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Entertainment of Monday, 28 February 2011

Source: Daily Guide

TV3 Sold ?

TV3 Network Limited, one of Ghana’s best performing private television stations, which was sold by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government under President Jerry John Rawlings in 1997, has been re-sold by its Malaysian owners, Media Prima Bhd.

A company called Media General Ghana Limited is said to have entered into a sale purchase agreement with GAMA Media, the Ghana subsidiary and managers of TV3 Ghana to divest 90 percent equity interest in TV3, for RM8.63 million (Malaysian Ringgits), which is approximately $2.8 million.

Since news broke about the sale of TV3, names of some big wigs in the ruling NDC have popped up as those behind the purchase. The sale of the one of the most vibrant television station is shrouded in secrecy just like its acquisition by the Malaysians 15 years ago.

The Malaysians acquired Ghana Films Company under bizarre arrangements with the hope that after operating for 15 years the entity would revert back to the state. But instead of the company going to the state, it has been sold to a Ghanaian firm, which has no track record in television management, raising questions about the real owners.

Several attempts to speak to the management of the TV station were unsuccessful. Media General Ghana Limited is an investment holding company registered in Ghana and its authorized business involves media and communication services. It also operates an open air television services and undertake media management services. Daily Guide’s investigation revealed that the company was registered on Friday, October 15, 2010 by one Reverend Dr. Anthony Cudjoe, who is said to be the resident pastor of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Sakumono branch in Accra.

The date for commencement of business was Monday, October 18, 2010 and it has Theresa Cudjoe, who is believed to be the wife of Pastor Cudjoe as co-director while one Agbesi Dzakpasu, a lawyer is the company’s secretary.

The company has CA-80,250 as its registration number and 524V069446 as the TIN number and Kwasi Asante & Associates as the auditors. According to Media Prima, TV3’s parent company, the proposed divestment was expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2011. In December 2009, Media Prima indicated that it was looking for other options apart from an earlier announced proposal to undertake an Initial Public Officer (IPO) on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) to raise additional capital.

Media Prima said that it was looking at options to raise funds as a result of what it described as “unfavorable market conditions,” and the sale forms part of TV3’s plan to axe all non-profitable businesses under a restructuring exercise to cut its RM600 million (USS158 million) debt.

The company said it needed the money to expand its operations in Ghana, replace obsolete equipment and train staff to do better programmes, but changed its mind to the Bursa Malaysia, an exchange holding company which operates a fully integrated exchange in order to focus on domestic operations.

The Group Managing Director of Media Prima Bhd, Datuk Amrin Awaluddin is quoted by the Malaysia News Agency, Bernama as saying they hope to complete the disposal by the third quarter of this year.

He noted that the need to obtain the necessary regulatory approval from government was delaying the disposal of the network. Speculations are rife that the ‘real’ owners of the Media General Ghana Limited may be hiding to avoid public scrutiny.