Korean buy strengthens CJ Group
Rose Major

The acquisition of a controlling stake in Koreaís OnMedia Corp by conglomerate CJ Group, will create a Korean pay-TV powerhouse with 18 channels in over 3 million homes.

CJ Group has bought a 55.2% stake in OnMedia from shareholders including HSBC and Orion Corp. CJ O Shopping, one of CJ Groupís many units, is the entity into which the stake has been placed, with reports quoting the unitís president Lee Hae-sun as saying the takeover is part of efforts to piece together media and shopping services.

The deal must get approval from the countryís Fair Trade Commission which will announce its decision mid-year.

One of the stumbling blocks to the dealís approval could be the high audiences for the combined groupís channels. Together, the companiesí channels account for some 27% of cable viewing. Popular channels include OnMediaís movie service OCN, lifestyle channel OnStyle and gaming service Ongamenet, while CJ Groupís CJ Media unit operates channels including CGV and Mnet.