Next Media Group has said in a voluntary notice issued at the
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) that it has
been approached by an independent third party which is interested
in acquiring its three Taiwanese publications, including the
Chinese-language Apple Daily (Taiwan) (台灣蘋果日報), Sharp Daily (
台灣爽報) and Next Magazine (壹週刊). The deal does not include
“We are currently conducting preliminary negotiations with the
stated third party,” the group said in the notice. “Should it
materialize, it could potentially be a transaction that we must
disclose, based on HKEx rules.”
The group emphasized that as of yesterday it had yet to reach any
legally binding agreement and that the terms of the transaction
were still under initial negotiations.
Next Media Group’s executive director Cassian Cheung (張嘉聲) said
in a letter to the group’s employees that the transaction had been
disclosed in accordance with HKEx rules. This did not mean that the
group has confirmed that it had sold the stated publications,
Cheung added. The group is to contact and negotiate with any
interested parties in the next few weeks.
“Our operation will remain unchanged during this period of time,
so everyone should carry out their work as usual,” Chang said in
Earlier this year, media reported that Next Media Group chairman
Jimmy Lai (黎智英) had intended to sell all the media outlets
within the group at a bundled price of US$500 million after
continued losses seen in its television network and multimedia
Lai, however, denied that this was the case.
Regarding the potential buyers, there has been speculation in the
media that they could include Taiwan’s Fubon Group, which recently
purchased the cable television systems owned by Kbro Co while Cite
Media Holdings Group (城邦媒體集團), which was recently acquired by
Hong Kong business tycoon Li Kai-shing (李嘉誠),was also included
on the list of interested firms.
Lai, a vocal critic of the Beijing adminstration, expanded his
media empire to Taiwan in 2001, with the launch of Taiwanese
editions of the weekly Next Magazine and the Apple Daily. Both have
enjoyed commercial success.
Additional reporting by Staff writer