Thu, Apr 12, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Jimmy Lai denies having plans to sell Taiwanese business

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Hong Kong-listed Next Media Ltd (壹傳媒集團) said in an e-mail yesterday that the company had no intention of selling its Taiwanese businesses.

The statement indicated that the media group led by mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英) had no plans to sell the Apple Daily news-paper, Next Magazine or Next TV.

“Mr Lai has also confirmed to the company that he has not negotiated with any party in respect of such a disposal,” the e-mail statement said.

Earlier this month, media reports said that Next Media, a pioneer in the field of animated news, had entrusted an unnamed investment bank with finding a buyer for its Taiwanese business, after allegedly suffering huge losses on the operation’s TV branch.

The reports added that Lai had initially only been looking to sell the money-losing TV division, but had been advised that selling the whole company would attract more buyers, those reports said.

Lai launched his Taiwanese media empire in 2001, with the launch of Taiwanese editions of the weekly Next Magazine and the Apple Daily newspaper, both of which have appeared to be big commercial successes.

However, his venture into the nation’s crowded TV market in the middle of last year, with several channels featuring news and entertainment programs, has been deemed a failure and is believed to be dragging down the group’s profitability.

Next TV Broadcasting Ltd (壹傳媒電視廣播) spokesman Chang Hsiu-cher (張修哲) attributed the difficulties faced by the company to problems in generating sufficient ad revenue because of the TV station’s limited news exposure.

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