Orbit and Showtime Arabia Merge Pay-TV Operations

DUBAI - Showtime Arabia and the Orbit Group of Companies on Sunday join hands to form the leading pay-TV platform in the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA.

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Published: Tue 14 Jul 2009, 1:08 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:35 AM

The new company is an equal partnership between the Orbit Group, a member of the Riyadh-based Mawarid Group and Showtime Arabia, a subsidiary of Kuwait Projects Co., or KIPCO, said an email statement without quoting any value of the deal.

KIPCO, which has stakes in 50 companies and operates in 21 countries, owns a 75.3 per cent of Showtime Arabia.

The new company will offer over 70 exclusive channels featuring the widest choice of exclusive first run movies, premium sports, Arabic and international television entertainment.

“This deal brings together two great brands into one company to offer customers the very best in Western and Arabic entertainment,” KIPCO Vice-Chairman Faisal Al Ayyar.

“Showtime and Orbit were pioneers of the region’s pay-TV market and we’ve both been calling for consolidation of the market for some time,” Ayyar said.

“Joining forces in this way is good news for customers, staff and the regional television industry,” it added.

Kipco, which has about $19 billion under management, also has interests in banking, food, healthcare, real estate and the management advisory sector.

Samir Abdulhadi, President and CEO of Orbit Group, said, “This merger is great news for the industry and customers alike, because it consolidates two leading pay-TV platforms, brings together the best channel line-up under one operator and combines all customer service and distribution networks into a single point of call.”

The merger includes the two core network operations comprising programming, marketing, distribution, broadcast technology and subscriber management systems.

Other Orbit Group operations, such as Media Gates, Orbit Data Systems and Noorsat are not part of the merger and will continue to be managed by their respective management teams independent of the new company.

Media Gates, Orbit’s Arabic production company, will continue to distribute the Arabic channel line up exclusively through the newly created platform, Abdulhadi said.

Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, CEO of the new company, said: “The new company will continue to run its core operations and corporate functions from Bahrain and Dubai, bringing together experienced and talented employees who are tasked with extracting significant synergies and delivering the best value from this merger for all our stakeholders and customers. We look forward to updating the market on this exciting merger and future plans.”

· abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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