(From the Australian Financial Review)
Chinese internet giant Alibaba has held talks to buy Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao it has emerged, just a week after it purchased the city’s main English language daily, the South China Morning Post.
Alibaba spokesman Rico Ngai denied on Thursday the talks were currently ongoing, but a source with direct knowledge of the situation has told the Australian Financial Review discussions to buy the Chinese language daily started in July.
Asked if talks had been held at any point over the last year, Mr Ngai declined to comment.
The source with connections to propaganda authorities on the mainland said he was informed of the talks by executives at both Alibaba and Ming Pao.
It is understood an initial meeting was arranged between Ming Pao and Alibaba to discuss a potential acquisition, as the newspaper’s financial situation deteriorated.
“It is more complicated and time consuming than the South China Morning Post deal,” said the source. He indicated a deal was not imminent.
After shares in Ming Pao’s parent company Media China International spiked on Thursday, it issued a statement to Hong Kong Stock Exchange saying it was not aware of “any reasons for such price and trading volume movements”.
Prior to the market’s close the stock was up 19.3 per cent to $HK1.30.
While considered generally pro-Beijing the paper, owned by Malaysian timber baron, Tiong Hiew King, has taken a more independent stance on issue like democracy and human rights on the mainland.
“At times it is still critical of Beijing,” said Willy Lam, a professor of Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Read more
Categories: Asia Unhedged