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Exclusive: Indonesia's CT Corp proposes all-cash deal for Bakrie's media unit

Founder and chairman CT Corp Chairul Tanjung smiles as his sits in front of his portrait at a book shop during his book launch in Jakarta Ju
Founder and chairman CT Corp Chairul Tanjung smiles as his sits in front of his portrait at a book shop during his book launch in Jakarta Ju

By Janeman Latul and Randy Fabi

TANJUNG BENOA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesia's fifth-richest man has proposed to buy a controlling stake in PT Visi Media Asia, valued at up to $1.8 billion, in an all-cash deal that would give him the lion's share of the TV advertising market in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Chairul Tanjung, the billionaire founder and chairman of CT Corp, a conglomerate with banking and media interests, told Reuters that his company wanted to buy the stake in the media unit of Indonesia's powerful Bakrie family without any partners.

The purchase would add Visi Media's two television stations to the two that CT Corp already owns, giving Tanjung's company a market share of more than 40 percent by TV ad revenue. Media companies are eyeing growth in the overall advertising market - worth $1.7 billion in 2011, according to the latest government data - on the back of Indonesia's rapid economic expansion.

"We are one of the preferred bidders. Our proposal is we want to buy it all ... my pocket is still deep," the 51-year-old Tanjung said in his hotel room on the resort island of Bali, shortly after meeting with the president and cabinet ministers in his role as head of the president's economic advisory body.

"(It is) only us that can pay cash one hundred percent ... but the deal is not done yet."

Tanjung said CT Corp would take out a new loan to buy the Visi Media stake. He declined to say how much the company would borrow for the deal.

Indonesia's politically influential Bakrie family has been in talks to sell around a 51 percent stake in Visi Media to help finance a plan to buy back coal assets from London-listed Bumi Plc , sources with direct knowledge have told Reuters.

The Bakries had originally been looking for a valuation of $1.2 billion to $2 billion for the unit, but the sources said it would be worth up to $1.8 billion. The talks have been going on for the past three months with local bidders including CT Corp and MNC Group, the sources said.

Currently, MNC group is the TV sector leader with a 38 percent share by ad revenue. CT Corp's Trans Media Group has a 24.8 percent share and the Sariaatmadja family's Elang Mahkota media group has 23.8 percent, government data shows.

Tanjung's comments marked the first time any bidder has publicly announced that it was offering to buy the company.

MNC was not immediately available for comment.

Shares of Visi, which has a market value of around $800 million, did not trade on Friday because of a public holiday.

'BUILD A CITY'

Tanjung, who trained as a dentist before becoming a businessman, has a net worth of around $3.4 billion, according to Forbes.

He started his company in 1987, building it from a maker of footwear and roof tiles to a conglomerate with interests from financial firms like PT Bank Mega Tbk to the CT Agro palm oil company.

Targeting strong growth in the local consumer industry, CT Corp has bought a 60 percent stake in the Indonesian supermarket operations of European retailer Carrefour for $673 million.

CT Corp also plans to build a $3 billion theme park on Indonesia's Java island and make it one of the biggest theme parks in Southeast Asia when it opens in 2016, Tanjung said.

He said the land for the park would be around 200 hectares and that construction would start by the end of this year.

The group currently operates two theme parks and has plans to add another 20 theme parks across Indonesia over the next few years.

"We will build a city, not only a theme park, as I want to make many Indonesians feel happy," Tanjung said.

(Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Chris Gallagher)

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