Deal to buy Next Media’s Taiwanese businesses delayed

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 - Page 13

A member of the group expected to buy the Taiwanese businesses of Hong Kong-based Next Media (壹傳媒) said the signing of a contract to buy the units that was scheduled for Saturday had been postponed.

Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團) said it was not certain when the contract would be signed.

FPG president William Wong (王文淵), ChinaTrust Charity Foundation chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) and Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明) were expected to sign an agreement on Saturday to buy the Next Media businesses for NT$17.5 billion (US$600.2 million).

Asked about the reason for the delay, FPG said Koo and Next Media founder Jimmy Lai (黎智英) still disagreed on the renting of Next TV’s studios.

The deal has also raised regulatory issues. Koo was reported to want a 34 percent stake in the Next Media businesses, but the Financial Supervisory Commission has asked him to limit his share of the deal to 20 percent, based on the principle of keeping the financial sector and media separate.

Koo’s family controls ChinaTrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) and he was once vice chairman of the company.