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Malaysian pay-TV company on path to public float

The Malaysian privately-owned satellite pay-TV company Astro has taken another step towards a public float with the issuing of its prospectus.

The company suggests it will raise about US$1.5 billion when it lists on the Malaysian stock exchange Bursa Malaysia by end of this month or in early October, which would make it the country’s third-biggest initial public offering (IPO) this year.

Astro is controlled by Malaysia’s second-richest man Mr Ananda Krishnan, who owns telecom and energy companies.  He is relisting Astro after it was privatised in 2010.

The company was established in 1996 and now says it has 3.1 million subscribers in 50 per cent of households in Malaysia. Through its 156 radio and TV channels the company carries local, regional and international content in multiple languages to serve diverse ethnic groups in Malaysia.

At the prospectus launch, the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak said that this would be a benchmark not only for Astro but for new media businesses to follow the same ambitious growth model.