The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday said it had received an application from a buyer of the print assets of the Next Media Group (壹傳媒集團) on Saturday, more than five weeks after the Hong Kong-based company confirmed plans to sell its Taiwanese businesses for NT$17.5 billion (US$601.3 million).
The application was submitted by Global Professional Investment Ltd, owned by Formosa Plastics Group (FPG, 台塑集團), which is the largest buyer in the deal.
“As for the buyout of Next TV Broadcasting Ltd (壹電視), we are still waiting for buyers to make submissions,” FTC spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said by telephone.
On Dec. 13, Next Media disclosed in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing that it would sell its Taiwanese print assets — the Chinese-language Apple Daily (Taiwan) (台灣蘋果日報), Sharp Daily (台灣爽報) and Next Magazine (壹週刊) — for NT$16 billion and Next TV for NT$1.5 billion.
Under the deal, FPG chairman William Wong (王文淵) would acquire 34 percent of Next Media’s print assets, followed by Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團) president Tsai Shao-chung (蔡紹中) with 32 percent, Chinatrust Charity Foundation (中信慈善基金會) chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr (辜仲諒) with 20 percent and Lung Yen Life Service Corp (龍巖集團) chairman David Lee (李世聰) with 14 percent.
“Currently, we are reviewing whether other buyers of Next Media’s print media subsidiaries should also file applications for the buyout deal, and whether the documents provided by FPG are sufficient enough for the review process to begin,” Sun said.
The commission has 30 days to review the case, and if necessary the review process can be extended for another 30 days, he said, adding that it is too early to tell how long it will take the commission to complete the review.