Kuala Lumpur – Media Prima Berhad (MPB) is setting out its regional expansion plans with the proposed setup of the MPB Strategic Media Fund Limited Partnership, a private equity fund for investments in media assets across South East Asian and emerging Asian markets. Targeting high growth media assets within ASEAN, the Media Fund is expected to grow and diversify the group’s earnings, as well as enhance shareholding value. MPB will be the anchor investor and will secure other domestic and international financial and strategic investors. It will also establish the MPB Fund Management Company to handle the fund and media assets. The Media Fund is expected to raise and invest between US$100-150million in 5-7 years. Macquarie Capital Securities (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd is the lead financial advisor for the initiative. The Media Fund’s first investment will be in the Philippines where MPB has set up subsidiary, MPB Primedia Inc, which is expected to seal a block airtime and consultancy agreement with Filipino free-to-air TV network ABC5. Primedia will provide content and manage airtime sales of ABC5. Also, ABC5 will undergo a repositioning and launch exercise as well as transmission upgrade assisted by Primedia. MPB’s interests in Primedia will be transferred to the Media Fund upon its inception. Primedia will be managed by a team of Filipino managers led by a local CEO. Abdul Rahman Ahmad, group managing director/CEO, MPB said, “We are aware that regional expansion and investment in media assets overseas will require substantial investment, and comes with a certain amount of risk. Further, such media investments are likely to require a gestation period before becoming profitable in the medium to long term. Accordingly, our investment through the Media Fund will enable MPB to minimise this impact to its earnings and balance sheet, share our risks with like-minded investors while at the same time allows MPB to benefit from management fee in operating the media assets and participate in the future capital gains of the Media Fund.” YBhg Dato’ Sri Farid Ridzuan will be appointed as CEO of the MPB Fund Management Company as well as CEO of Media Prima’s International Division. He also remains as Group CEO, MPB Television Networks, responsible for four networks including TV3, 8TV, ntv7 and TV9. Dato’ Amrin Awaluddin, current CEO of ntv7 will take over as CEO of TV3, and Dato’ Anthony Firdauz Bujang, current director of operations at TV3 will be CEO of ntv7.