Alibaba to pay S$375.6m for SCMP

The South China Morning Post website and an image of Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, are displayed on a computer in Hong Kong.
The South China Morning Post website and an image of Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, are displayed on a computer in Hong Kong.PHOTO: REUTERS
A pedestrian walks past a closed newsstand designed with the logo of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong.
A pedestrian walks past a closed newsstand designed with the logo of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong.PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Alibaba Group Holding has agreed to pay HK$2.06 billion (S$375.6 million) to acquire Hong Kong's flagship English-language newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the newspaper group said in a statement on Monday (Dec14).

Alibaba and SCMP Group Ltd announced on Friday that China's Internet giant would buy the 112-year-old newspaper and other media properties, but did not put a value on the deal.

The purchase, which follows a string of media deals by Alibaba, is likely to raise concerns in Hong Kong where the SCMP occupies an important position and is seen as a barometer for press freedom under Chinese rule.

 

In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, SCMP cited an"uncertain" future for traditional publishing as a key reason behind the sale, adding Alibaba would likely be able to "unlock greater value" from the business.

 

SCMP Group had a turnover of around HK$1.2 billion in 2014, up slightly from 2013, it said. Net profit for the year was HK$122.6 million.

Alibaba has acquired or invested in a growing portfolio of media and content companies in recent years. In June, the company agreed to pay US$194 million (S$274.2 million) for an undisclosed stake in domestic financial media firm China Business News.