Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Page 13 News List

FPG stays mum on buyout of Next Media Group

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) yesterday said it would keep its internal discussions over the buyout of the Taiwanese media outlets of Hong Kong-listed Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) secret until the deal is signed on Saturday.

FPG, the nation’s biggest diversified industrial company, refused to say whether it would raise its share proportion in the buyout plan.

Local media yesterday said the group might have to increase its shareholding after the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) on Tuesday asked Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒), the eldest son of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) founder and chairman Jeffrey Koo (辜濂松), not to hold more than a 20 percent stake in Next Media’s Taiwan operations.

On Saturday last week, FPG chairman William Wong (王文淵) said the group would hold a meeting yesterday to discuss the buyout. However, the group abruptly canceled the meeting at noon yesterday, saying it had completed its discussions on Tuesday.

Shares of the group’s four core subsidiaries extended their losses yesterday in Taipei trading from Tuesday, except for Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), which was unchanged at NT$80.1.

Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC, 台塑) saw its shares lose 3.18 percent to NT$70, Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠), dropped 1.43 percent to end at NT$48.40, while Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (台灣化纖) closed down 1.95 percent at NT$60.3.

In Hong Kong, Next Media unexpectedly suspended trading of its shares at 10:08am, after they fell 12.987 percent to HK$1.34. Its shares fell 2.6 percent on Tuesday after it warned on Monday of “a substantial loss” for the first half of the year because of write-offs at its multimedia division in Taiwan.

Last month, Koo Jr inked a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英) to buy Next Media’s Taiwan operations, including the Apple Daily, Next Magazine and Next TV (壹電視) for NT$17.5 billion (US$600.86 million).

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