Kuwait City, December 27, 2004 — Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO) has been presented with high calibre proposals by some of the world’s top investment banks vying to manage an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Showtime, the satellite television network and flagship media company of the KIPCO Group.
Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Gulf Investment Corporation and The National Investor all made presentations during three days at KIPCO’s Kuwait headquarters.
The bankers were asked to make recommendations about pricing Showtime shares, the choice of stock exchange, and the best way to structure the company’s capital in light of its business and financial objectives.
“We were extremely impressed by the high calibre of the proposals. Each one demonstrated eagerness to present the unique value of Showtime to media investors around the world,” said KIPCO managing director and CEO Faisal Al Ayyar.
The bankers presented to an evaluation team comprising senior KIPCO management and management drawn from companies throughout the KIPCO Group, including investment banking subsidiary United Gulf Bank (UGB) of Bahrain; KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO); Hunter Capital of Utah, USA; Pulsar Knowledge Centre of New Delhi, India; and United Gulf Management of Boston, USA.
“Their proposals demonstrated recognition not only of Showtime’s tremendous track record in an emerging marketplace, but also the supporting strength and quality of our KIPCO portfolio companies,” said Al Ayyar.
He said the banks’ proposals identified Showtime’s current market penetration and potential, strong management team, high average revenue per subscriber and fixed exclusive long-term programming agreements with major Hollywood studios, as key strengths.
The proposals will now be evaluated by KIPCO in a follow-up process leading to a selection decision the coming months. The IPO is scheduled to take place in 2005.
The decision to proceed with an IPO was taken after a thorough review of plans for Showtime, which is majority owned by KIPCO through United Broadcasting Company.
Showtime launched with six channels on PanAmSat in 1996. It has rapidly expanded its distribution across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and today offers more than 50 channels of premium Western entertainment with Arabic subtitling including the latest Hollywood movies, sitcoms, children’s programming, fashion shows and sports coverage.
KIPCO is Kuwait’s largest private sector company with more than US$ 10 billion under management or control, and a portfolio of some 70 companies with major activities in financial services, media & telecommunications, real estate, industry, management advisory, medical services and aviation throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as substantial ownership interests in the U.S. and Europe. KIPCO employs more than 10,000 people internationally and its shares are the most actively traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
KIPCO’s core operating companies are United Gulf Bank (UGB), its investment banking subsidiary; Gulf Insurance Company (GIC), a regional leader in commercial and personal insurance; Burgan Bank, Kuwait’s leading technology-driven commercial bank; Wataniya Telecom, the dynamic and fast-growing regional mobile telephone services provider; and Showtime.