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Chua Threatens Suit Over Failed Cetv Purchase

By Tze Yee-lin
Publication: The Hollywood Reporter
Date: Tuesday, January 6 1998
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HONG KONG -- Asia's "no sex, no violence, no news" satellite television boss Robert Chua is threatening to sue the mainland consortium he claims has cost him his 3-year-old family-friendly network.

Chua's China Entertainment Television (CETV) Family Channel will probably be forced to shut down at the end of January, after the Oct. 22 deal with five mainland Chinese companies fell apart just before Christmas (HR 12/22).

At a press
conference at the exclusive China Club in Hong Kong on Monday, Chua said he would seek to recover "significant damages that have resulted from the failure of the buyers to fulfill their obligations under the purchase agreement."

Chua sold 80% of his network to the consortium for $34.3 million -- $11.8 million in cash and the remainder deferred for five years at no interest.

Chua stands to lose his $8 million personal investment if the venture closes. Total investment in the 3-year-old channel has been between $35 million and $40 million, Chua said.

With a little more than three weeks to go before his end-of-January deadline, the Asian television veteran is still hoping for a "white knight" investor -- preferably from mainland China -- to rescue his troubled channel.

The Hong Kong-based network has already laid off 90 of its 180 staffers in anticipation of the closure.

Chua said he can no longer compete with Rupert Murdoch's Phoenix TV joint venture in China without mainland Chinese partners. Phoenix was granted satellite landing rights in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong last year. Chua said he was denied similar privileges because of his lack of mainland partners.
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