Hong Kong Television Network has not reached any agreement with the beleaguered free-to-air broadcaster Asia Television on buying its shares, the company said on Wednesday morning, in another twist to events.
In an announcement made on the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s website, HKTV admitted its chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay met ATV major investor Wong Ching on March 26.
It said however: "No agreement or agreement in principle has been reached by Mr Ricky Wong, whether or not on behalf of the company with anyone with regard to the possible transaction.
"The company has not entered into any discussions with the joint and several managers of ATV appointed by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," the statement from HKTV added.
The denial came just hours after an announcement was made during ATV’s Chinese-language newscast that de facto boss Wong Ching had agreed to sell his controlling stake to HKTV’s maverick chief Ricky Wong. According to the report, Wong Ching and Wong Ben#$%$, who holds a total 52.4 per cent stake in ATV on paper, had accepted Ricky Wong’s offer for the stake.
ATV vice-president Lau Lan-cheong said on Wednesday that the announcement on Tuesday was "accurate" in that it reflected the station’s own decision.
"Our news yesterday accurately reported on our company’s decision. This is because ATV decided to sell shares to Ricky Wong – but whether Wong will accept the offer was another news item to be followed," Lau said at the station’s headquarters in Tai Po.
He said that ATV made the decision on Tuesday and the shareholders hoped to announce the news in time. He said he was not worried that the image and credibility of ATV news would be tarnished.