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Vietnam telecom giant terminates controversial pay TV acquisition

By Nguyen Ha   December 18, 2018 | 05:52 pm PT
Vietnam telecom giant terminates controversial pay TV acquisition
MobiFone has accordingly received back all money it had spent on purchasing a 95 percent stake at AVG. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Tu
State-owned telecommunications giant MobiFone has officially terminated its controversial acquisition of pay TV firm AVG.

Representatives of MobiFone and private pay TV firm Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG) Tuesday signed an agreement to terminate a previous purchase agreement.

MobiFone has been paid back VND8.775 trillion ($376 million), including the VND8.445 trillion ($361.73 million) it had spent on purchasing a 95 percent stake at AVG and other additional costs. It has also returned 344.66 million AVG shares to the firm's shareholders.

MobiFone, the country's third largest telecom firm, had announced in 2016 that it was acquiring a 95 percent stake in AVG. Later, the Government Inspectorate found that the deal, which had not been approved by the Prime Minister, had violated investment laws and caused an estimated loss of around VND7 trillion ($299.9 million) to the government.

In August 2016, the government ordered an across-the-board inspection into the acquisition and inspectors last March concluded that MobiFone had committed multiple violations in proposing the deal and in evaluating AVG's worth.

For their responsibility in the acquisition, former Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Bac Son was retrospectively fired from his post for the term 2011-2016 and Truong Minh Tuan, then the deputy minister, also lost his post as minister last July.

MobiFone's former general director and a deputy were arrested on November 14 on mismanagement charges.

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