Reshuffles on cards at Asian media giants

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am

Media Chinese International, publisher of Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News and Malaysia's Sin Chew Daily, is expected to take over management control of its separately listed magazine unit One Media Group.

The company spun off the unit three years ago as part of an expansion into the mainland, but the spin-off has faced a difficult operating environment.

Media Chinese plans to announce a senior management reshuffle at the unit after the completion of the merger between Ming Pao Enterprise Corp and Malaysia's Sin Chew Daily and Nan Yang Media, all owned by Tiong Hiew King.

Ming Pao merged its magazine unit with Peter Brack's Redgate Media in 2004. Ming Pao and Redgate held 60 per cent and 40 per cent of the company, respectively.

One Media is now 62 per cent owned by Media Chinese, which publishes five titles in Hong Kong and on the mainland, including flagship Ming Pao Weekly, Hi-Tech Weekly and, in China, Ming, Popular Science and Top Gear. It is planning to launch a Taiwan edition of Ming Pao Weekly this quarter.

Media Eye has learned that Mr Brack, One Media chief executive and Redgate founder, is expected to be appointed as the company's deputy chairman. His current position could be assumed by Terence Tung, the existing chief operating officer.

Mr Tung is a long-time veteran at Ming Pao Group and has been in charge of One Media's daily operations.

Media Eye has also heard that Redgate management has not been involved in the business full time in recent years.

Redgate, which is also involved in the mainland advertising industry, is planning an initial public offering in the United States and the publishing venture with Ming Pao may become only a small slice of its operations. The management reshuffle is still pending approval.

Ming Pao spun off One Media in 2005, raising HK$120 million at HK$1.20 per share as it prepared for an aggressive expansion on the mainland. However, One Media has underperformed the market; its share price closed at 48 HK cents yesterday.

The group faced a setback with the launch of the Chinese edition of Rolling Stone, which debuted in March 2006 but was closed down last year due to poor advertisers' response.

'The mainland market is full of challenges and opportunities, but it depends on how the company executes its policy and investment plan,' a market watcher said.

Dual HK-Kuala Lumpur listing

Media Chinese's shares will debut on the Kuala Lumpur stock market today after a year of restructuring in Mr Tiong's print media empire.

The dual-listed group started trading in Hong Kong under the new name on Monday. It is the first Hong Kong-Kuala Lumpur dual listing in Hong Kong.

Shares of Media Chinese yesterday rose 3.85 per cent in Hong Kong to close at HK$2.70.

The company claims to be the world's largest Chinese print-media company with a daily newspaper circulation of more than 1 million copies in Hong Kong, North America and Malaysia.

Shenzhen New World expansion

Shenzhen New World Group, a Shenzhen-based conglomerate, yesterday said it would take a 45 per cent stake in Hong Kong Commercial Daily, paving the way for a listing in the future.

Founded in 1952, the pro-Beijing business newspaper is owned by Shenzhen Press Group.

'We recorded growth in both circulation and advertising income last year,' said Huang Yanglue, publisher of Commercial Daily. 'We booked a first time profit last year and we will seek a listing in the near future.'

Mr Huang said the investment of Shenzhen New World Group could see more funding for the newsroom and also help diversify the company's business.