Alibaba agrees $266m deal to buy South China Morning Post | M&M Global

Alibaba agrees $266m deal to buy South China Morning Post

Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group has agreed a $266m deal to acquire Hong Kong’s largest English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post.


Aside from speculation around the synergies between the internet retail giant and the publisher, the deal has simultaneously angered some investors concerned that the purchase will not provide good returns, whilst calling into question the editorial independence of the newspaper, due to the potentially political nature of the transaction.

Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok will transfer control of the 112 year old publication, which reports on issues considered sensitive in mainland China, to Chinese billionaire Jack Ma in an all-cash deal.

Although Alibaba’s executive vice chairman Joe Tsai rejected insinuations Alibaba would compromise the newspaper’s editorial independence in a letter to readers, he added that the world needed “a plurality of views when it comes to China coverage”.

Following the suspension of shares in SCMP Group since February 2013 due to it failing to meet the minimum required percentage of total issued share capital available in the public market, the group is expected to get around HK$1.4bn ($180m) from the asset sale.

This purchase follows Alibaba’s acquisition of an undisclosed stake in China Business News in June for $194m.

It is not the first occasion a digital entrepreneur has taken a shine to the print industry: in 2013, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos led a buyout of the Washington Post.

Anna Dobbie


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