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Alibaba agrees to pay US$266m for South China Morning Post

Monday, December 14, 2015 - 09:13

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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd 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.

[SHANGHAI] Alibaba Group Holding Ltd 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.

Alibaba and SCMP Group Ltd announced on Friday the Hangzhou-based company 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 South China Morning Post 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.

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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 $194 million for an undisclosed stake in domestic financial media firm China Business News.

REUTERS

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