Robert Kuok receives offers for GSC

robert-kuokPETALING JAYA: Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) is up for sale by Malaysia’s richest man Robert Kuok, Bloomberg reported today.

The cinema chain, which is owned by Kuok’s Bursa-listed PPB Group Bhd, is expected to be sold for up to US$500 million (RM2 billion), according to the report.

A source told the financial publication that first-round bids have already come in for GSC, which has more than 345 digital screens in Malaysia and Vietnam.

The sale would add to the expansion by Asian film exhibitors to markets outside their home base.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, companies in the region have made US$16.1 billion in entertainment acquisitions in the past year alone.

The film exhibition and distribution division was the third biggest contributor to PPB Group’s total profit of RM65.6 million last year. Only the grain and agribusiness generated more gains to the company, Bloomberg reported.

PPB, which used to be known as Perlis Plantations Berhad, entered the film exhibition and distribution industry in 1987 after agreeing to a deal with Golden Harvest (International) Ltd of Hong Kong to establish Golden Communications (M) Sdn Bhd (GC) to take over the Shaw cinemas chain in the country.

The group’s cinema operations was expanded in 1990 when PPB acquired Borneo Filem Organization (M) Sdn Bhd which owned the “Cathay Organisation” cinemas.

Both cinema chains had operated independently until 1997, when PPB merged both GC and Cathay cinema operations under one new big chain called Golden Screen Cinemas.

Bloomberg were unable to get any comments from GSC Chief Executive Officer Koh Mei Lee on the sale rumours.