OSN shareholder KIPCO to sell 60% stake

Dubai-based OSN, which provides satellite encrypted pay television services to 24 countries in the MENA region, represents KIPCO's entire media operating segment
Dubai-based OSN, which provides satellite encrypted pay television services to 24 countries in the MENA region, represents KIPCO’s entire media operating segment.
Dubai-based OSN, which provides satellite encrypted pay television services to 24 countries in the MENA region, represents KIPCO’s entire media operating segment.

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Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) has hired bankers to sell its 60.50% stake in Panther Media Group Limited, otherwise known as OSN, the investment firm said.

Panther Media Group, registered in the Dubai International Financial Centre, has two shareholders - KIPCO and Saudi investment firm Mawarid Group Limited. KIPCO’s move comes after its pay TV subsidiary witnessed a 10% drop in Q3 revenue compared to the same period in 2017.

“On 8 August 2018, the Board of Directors of the Parent Company approved initiating an active plan to divest its entire interest in PMGL,” KIPCO said in a statement to Arabian Business.

The group has engaged an international investment banker for this purpose. Its director of finance Moustapha Chami said the holding company is exploring various "strategic options" in relation to its stake in the TV giant.

In-depth review

In its Q3 earnings call, Anuj Rohtagi, director, group financial control at KIPCO said OSN is carrying out a careful review of various revenue opportunities and looking at cost rationalisation initiatives.

"The company has recently come up with a new pricing proposition," said Rohtagi. "It is called ‘El Farq’. It was initially piloted in Saudi Arabia which had effectively passed on the benefit of selling through online sales channels to eventual customer in terms of price reduction."

Rohtagi said management has undertaken an in-depth review of what content works for customers and what does not.

"As a result of the review, a high double-digit or low triple digit range of savings in content cost is expected in 2019 that will help us build a trajectory of business in next 5 years," he said.

"There is a vast network of telecom operators in the region and OSN has an exciting pipeline to leverage its partnership network to grow in new markets."

Dubai-based OSN, which provides satellite encrypted pay television services to 24 countries in the MENA region, represents KIPCO’s entire media operating segment.

The rise of OTT platforms such as Netflix and StarzPlay Arabia has seen the traditional television giant struggle to retain consumers who opt for cheaper, on-demand streaming as opposed to Pay TV.

In a bid to keep up with shifting trends, it launched its own OTT platform Wavo, which offers live TV, Hollywood and Arabic content.

In February this year, it also signed the first partnership deal in the region with global streaming service Netflix, allowing customers to access Netflix content library via a new OSN Box.

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