With the battle for Sally Aw Sian's majority stake in Sing Tao Holdings over, attention is turning to whether the company's stock is worth buying under the new management. On Thursday, shareholders approved a special set of resolutions which cleared the way for Lazard Asia to acquire Ms Aw's 50.04 per cent stake in Sing Tao for $262 million. Sing Tao's share price has fallen 68 per cent since August 1997, closing on Friday at $1.48. 'At this price you'd probably sit on it or buy it but not aggressively,' South China Brokerage director Howard Gorges said. There are concerns that surprises could be in store for the new management, which still makes the stock a risky investment. 'It's been weakly managed for a long time,' Mr Gorges said. 'If you're willing to take a bit of a gamble, it could be all right.' Despite these concerns, the arrival of a new owner and management has been welcomed by analysts and many inside Sing Tao itself as giving the ailing company a chance to turn around. Some analysts do not consider the stock worth the risk until it is seen what the new management intends to do with the company. Worldsec International investment analyst Jean Hydleman said: 'On fundamentals, I take a bit of wait-and-see approach, and at least see what the strategic plan is for the company. As a holder I probably wouldn't sell, but I don't think I would buy into it at this level.' The new management is confident it can use the brand name of Sing Tao to enhance the company's position, focusing on its newspapers and commercial publishing. The company publishes the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily and the English-language Hong Kong Standard. Lazard said it intended to sell Sing Tao's non-core assets, including property. 'We still think there is room for improving the newspaper group and better positioning,' Lazard chief executive Patrick Cheung Din-youn said. 'With a very old and respected name and global franchise . . . these assets could be exploited to increase shareholder value.' Analysts consider newspapers a difficult and extremely competitive industry at present. According to brokers, Sing Tao has been suffering from competition both at the popular end of the market, from the Oriental Daily News and Apple Daily, and the quality end of the market, from Ming Pao. There are concerns that Sing Tao's core property advertising niche has been hit by the weak property market and, in the longer term, by competition from Hong Kong Economic Times in this area. 'The problem with Sing Tao itself is finding a niche for it,' Ms Hydleman said. 'One of the things I would look at would be a tabloid or perhaps a regional financial paper to try to attract the middle-market Chinese readers.' The print media in general is suffering as people change habits from reading printed publications towards using electronic media. 'It's turning into a much smaller cake to slice - people are being lured away by the electronic media and people are spending more time on the Internet and perhaps cutting down to only one newspaper,' Ms Hydleman said. Given the competitive nature of the industry and increasing popularity of alternative media outlets, Worldsec advises shareholders to avoid print-media related stocks. Sing Tao last year reported a net loss of $13 million for the six months to September and a $65 million loss before exceptional items. Last Thursday, shareholders voted to accept the special arrangements offered by the new majority shareholder Lazard to Ms Aw, including an annual salary of $9 million and a $58 million loan for debt repayments. Lazard can now proceed with a general offer of $1.25 a share for the remainder of the stocks, a 15.54 per cent discount to last Friday's closing price. Shareholders have until May 24 to decide whether to sell their shares to Astral Light Investments, a Lazard subsidiary.