Richard Li acquires control of Hong Kong newspaper

AP , HONG KONG

Sat, Aug 11, 2007 - Page 10

Hong Kong telecom tycoon Richard Li (李澤楷) has become the controlling shareholder of the respected financial newspaper Hong Kong Economic Journal by increasing his interest from 50 percent to 70 percent, a newspaper reported yesterday.

The 40-year-old Li, the younger son of billionaire Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠), bought the 50 percent stake in the privately owned newspaper in August last year for a reported HK$280 million (US$36 million).

The Hong Kong Economic Journal, owned by Lam Shan-muk (林山木) and his wife Lam Lok Yau-mui (林駱友梅), at the time agreed to gradually sell their 50 percent stake to Li, and they have now sold another 20 percent to him, Ming Pao Daily News reported yesterday.

A spokesman for Li did not immediately return a reporter's call seeking comment.

The acquisition by Li, chairman of Hong Kong telecom company PCCW Ltd (電訊盈科), drew government scrutiny because Hong Kong law prohibits an owner of a local newspaper to also control a domestic television broadcaster.

PCCW, a leading phone operator, also holds a license for a pay-television service.

Broadcasting authority spokeswoman Viola Kwan said the government is still investigating Li's interest in the Journal.

Analysts said when Li bought into the newspaper he may be interested in other media properties.

Li has tried but failed to make PCCW into a high-tech powerhouse. Last year he tried unsuccessfully to sell his controlling stake in PCCW.