FOX Networks suing Bangkok Bank over TV payment guarantees

by The Associated Press Posted Dec 14, 2016 6:45 am MDT Last Updated Dec 14, 2016 at 7:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FOX Networks suing Bangkok Bank over TV payment guarantees BANGKOK – An Asian unit of 21st Century Fox announced Wednesday it has launched legal action against Thailand’s biggest bank for failing to honour payment guarantees it made on behalf of operators of two digital TV channels.FOX Networks Group Asia, a distributor of programming from the Fox Television Group, said in a statement it acted after Bangkok Bank failed to honour two separate guarantees for payments by GMM Grammy PCL and CTH PCL for distribution of its channels in Thailand.It said that under 5-year agreements signed in 2013, the Thai companies owed FOX more than $71 million.Bangkok Bank responded that the guarantees applied if the Thai companies broke their contracts with FOX, but the companies said it was FOX that violated the contracts’ terms. It added that because FOX is suing CTH and Bangkok Bank in a Hong Kong court, it could not provide details.FOX said it initiated legal action in Hong Kong on Monday after months of receiving no response from Bangkok Bank to its claims. It said in a separate note it had begun legal action against GMM and Bangkok Bank in Thai courts in March, and that GMM stopped paying FOX license fees in September last year.“It’s a severe disappointment to us that a major Thai bank is failing to honour its guarantees, and its consequences go well beyond my own company, especially at a time of heightened sensitivity for investor confidence,” Zubin Gandevia , president for Asia Pacific and Middle East for Fox Networks Group, said in the statement.GMM, a diversified entertainment and production company, and CTH, a pay TV operator, had won bids with Thailand’s broadcast regulator to operate digital television channels starting in 2014, but many bidders struggled with the high costs of their licenses. CTH, which had already spent heavily on obtaining broadcast rights for English Premier League football, stopped broadcasting in September this year.According to FOX, Bangkok Bank provided guarantees for 14 of the 24 channel licenses auctioned by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, representing more than $600 million, or approximately 41 per cent of the $1.46 billion in spectrum license fees raised.

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