FOX Asia Sues Bangkok Bank


HONG KONG: FOX Networks Group Asia is taking legal action against Bangkok Bank for failing to honor payments it guaranteed from two Thai digital channel operators.

GMM and CTH were operators of pay-TV platforms and the holders of licenses of failed digital television channels in Thailand. In 2013, FOX signed channel licensing agreements with both companies. Under those agreements, they are obliged to pay FOX a principal amount of more than $71 million and interest on late payments. Bangkok Bank had guaranteed those payment obligations.

“FOX has a long-standing commitment to the media industry in Thailand and to delivering the highest-quality entertainment and sports programming to our Thai viewers,” said Zubin Gandevia, the president for the Asia Pacific and the Middle East at FOX Networks Group. “It’s a severe disappointment to us that a major Thai bank is failing to honor its guarantees to us, and its consequences go well beyond my own company, especially at a time of heightened sensitivity for investor confidence in Thailand.”

Bangkok Bank provided bank guarantees for 14 of the 24 channels that received digital TV licenses from the local regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), totaling more than U.S.$600 million or approximately 41 percent of the license fees raised.

“The bank’s credit and its credibility; its entire stock in trade is on the line,” Gandevia noted. “A bank’s letter of guarantee is a financial instrument that is fundamental to the financial and commercial ecosystem of a country, and the belief that such guarantees will be honored is essential to investor confidence in Thai banks. A failure to honor such a guarantee risks putting into question the trustworthiness of the Bangkok Bank.”