Chinese Tycoon’s Daughter Buys Hong Kong Newspaper Control
(Bloomberg) -- Kwok Hiu-ting, the daughter of Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. chairman, has agreed to buy the controlling stake in major Hong Kong media firm Sing Tao News Corp. for about HK$370 million ($48 million).
Charles Ho, the chairman of Sing Tao, agreed to sell 246.6 million shares at HK$1.5 each to Kwok, according to a statement to the stock exchange on Wednesday. The price represents a 65% premium to Sing Tao’s last close of HK$0.91 on Jan. 28 before a trading halt.
Sing Tao shares surged as much as 54% in resumed trading Wednesday afternoon in Hong Kong, their biggest intraday gain since July 2005. The stock climbed about 17.6% to HK$1.07 as of 1:46 p.m. local time.
Kwok, who’s on the board of Kaisa Prosperity Holdings Ltd., will hold a 28% stake as the largest single shareholder of Sing Tao. She’s the daughter of Kwok Ying-shing, chairman and co-founder of Shenzhen-based conglomerate Kaisa Group. Ho will dispose of his remaining 3.37% stake in Sing Tao to other independent third parties, the statement said.
In a separate statement, Kwok said she’s investing in Sing Tao News mainly for its “strong brand influence, high-quality news coverage and a diversified media platform,” adding she would invest more in mobile media.
The sale would make Sing Tao the latest Hong Kong media company to be taken over by people with links to mainland Chinese groups, at a time when Beijing is cracking down on the former British colony. As part of the mainland’s tightening grip on the city, media tycoon Jimmy Lai -- founder of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper -- is facing trials on multiple charges.
Sing Tao is one of the oldest Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong with more than 80 years of history. It has editions for Chinese readers in Europe and North America. Besides traditional newspapers, Sing Tao also runs magazines and new media platforms.
The city’s dominant television broadcaster, Television Broadcasts Ltd., better known as TVB, has an ownership structure that masks the influence of mainland media tycoon Li Ruigang. Hong Kong’s largest English-language newspaper, South China Morning Post, was bought by Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a $266 million deal that was completed in 2016.
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