Shares in publisher Sing Tao Holdings jumped almost 21 per cent at one stage yesterday, after the company confirmed a possible share sale by controlling shareholder Sally Aw Sian. The company, which owns English-language newspaper Hong Kong Standard and the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily , said Ms Aw was at various stages of discussions with a number of unrelated third parties to sell part or all of her 49.57 per cent stake. After Thursday's share suspension was lifted yesterday, Sing Tao hit a peak of $1.68 before closing the day 2.87 per cent higher at $1.43. The news also boosted shares in the company's 43 per cent owned publishing associate Culturecom Holdings by 7.2 per cent to 11.8 cents. Sing Tao and Culturecom were among the market's most active stocks yesterday, with 9.27 million Sing Tao and 4.42 million Culturecom shares changing hands. Sing Tao's closing price valued Ms Aw's stake at about $301 million and the whole company at $608 million. Speculation centred on a consortium led by Cha Chi-ming as the potential buyer. Mr Cha is a businessman well-connected with the mainland and was one of the architects of the Basic Law. Other interested parties reportedly included Wharf (Holdings) telecoms arm NewT&T. But NewT&T president Leslie Harris yesterday denied the reports, saying they were completely without foundation. Rumours of a share sale by Ms Aw have been circulating in the market for the past year, sending Sing Tao shares to a record high of $4.75 in August last year. Salomon Brothers Hong Kong analyst Kaushik Shridharani said: 'It's a good time to shop around for buyers as Sing Tao probably had good numbers in the year ending March.' The company saw attributable profit rise to $121.21 million in the six months to last September, from $4.92 million in the same period in 1996, helped mostly by a strong property market. Analysts have attributed 67-year-old Ms Aw's intention to sell to various factors including her age, but not the recent circulation scandal at the Hong Kong Standard .