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CTBC buys Brother Elephants
Entertainment affiliate to manage team
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-03 04:56 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Brother Hotel officially announced Tuesday it was selling its popular but loss-making Brother Elephants baseball team to CTBC Financial Holding for NT$400 million (US$13.5 million).

Brother Elephants Chairman Hung Jui-ho and CTBC Vice Chairman Hsueh Hsiang-chuan signed the deal in Taipei Tuesday, confirming rumors over the past few weeks that CTBC, formerly known as the Chinatrust Group, was the most likely buyer.

However, the deal specifies that holding daughter CTBC Bank is buying naming rights and advertising cooperation rights for ten years, but will not be involved in the day-to-day management of the team, which will be up to another daughter company in the entertainment business. The company will also pick an eventual new name and mascot to be announced at a later date. The suggestion of ‘CTBC Brothers’ was reportedly a frontrunner with the team’s ardent fans.

Up to 90 percent of the team’s current staff would form part of the new entity, reports said.

The Taipei hotel revealed on October 19 that it was planning to sell the club due to total losses amounting to a reported NT$1 billion (US$33.8 million) since 1984. The operating loss for 2012 reportedly totaled NT$50 million (US$1.7 million).

As soon as the news broke, a slew of prominent business groups were rumored to be interested in buying the team. Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng reportedly functioned as a middleman to bring Lihbao Group to the table, but talks ended without success. Other companies mentioned by the media included the financial holdings Fubon and Cathay, funeral services operator Lungyen Life Service Corporation and even top chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

A major factor in Brother’s choice for CTBC was reportedly the latter’s plan to keep the team’s home in Taipei. The banking group disbanded its own team, the Chinatrust Whales, in 2008 due to reported financial difficulties. Speakers at Tuesday’s news conference emphasized that the sporting environment in Taiwan had changed drastically in the five years since that decision.

The Brother Elephants with their trademark yellow shirts are one of only four teams in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The Brother Hotel said the team would remain in the league next year even if a buyer was not found by the end of this year.

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