KIPCO bailing out on OSN
November 22, 2018
By Chris Forrester
One of Kuwait’s sovereign wealth funds, KIPCO is looking to sell its stake in Dubai-based pay-TV operator OSN (the former Orbit-Showtime Network). Goldman Sachs has reportedly been hired to find a buyer.
While the reports have not said that KIPCO has ‘had enough’ of being patient with OSN, the most recent data indicates that its latest quarterly numbers show a 10 per cent fall in already depressed revenues (for the quarter to September 30th).
KIPCO said in its quarterly results that the company’s board had approved initiating a plan to divest its 60.5 per cent equity interest in Panther Media Group (the OSN joint-venture holding company), also known as OSN, and had engaged an international investment banker for the purpose.
KIPCO’s partner in Panther/OSN is Saudi Arabia-based Mawarid Group (39.5 per cent).
OSN faces subdued demand in its core markets due to piracy, geopolitical factors and fiscal reforms by governments which have led to sizeable expatriate populations leaving some of its core markets, said Anuj Rohtagi, director of group financial control at KIPCO in the company’s Q3 earnings conference call.
Previous attempts to soften the financial impact of OSN, including at one stage in 2013 talking about an IPO (with Rothschild as advisor) have come to nothing.