Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai is planning to sell his Taiwan media businesses to two of the island’s best-known tycoons, a source and local media said on Tuesday.
Lai has been in talks with Jeffrey Koo Jr, chairman of the Chinatrust Charity Foundation, and Formosa Plastics Group president Wang Wen-yuan to sell the Taiwan edition of Apple Daily, Next magazine and Next TV for Tw$17.5 billion ($583 million), the reports said.
“Yes, there is a deal between Lai and Koo and Wang,” a source close to a top executive of the Hong Kong media group’s Taiwan units told AFP.
“The only thing that I cannot say for sure is the amount. We had expected it to be announced in Hong Kong earlier today. I don’t know why it was delayed,” he said.
Formosa Plastics and Next Media declined to comment.
Lai, a vocal critic of Beijing, expanded his media empire to Taiwan in 2001 with the launch of Next magazine and Apple Daily. Both have been commercial successes.
However, his venture into the island’s saturated television market in mid-2011 appeared to have been a failure, according to media reports.
The Hong Kong-listed Next Media earlier this month signed a memorandum of cooperation with Lien Tai-sheng, owner of Era Communications, for the sale of Next TV.
Lien reportedly would get compensation if that deal were to fall through.
Trading in Next Media’s shares were suspended Tuesday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Category: Hong Kong