SCMP receives preliminary offer from unnamed buyer; says committed to continued growth of business

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2015, 10:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2015, 11:35pm

SCMP Group, which publishes the South China Morning Post, has confirmed that it has received a preliminary approach from an interested party regarding a possible purchase of the company’s media assets. This includes the newspaper, magazines and outdoor media, custom publishing and events businesses.

“The preliminary understanding is that the potential purchaser would like to have continuity in the media business’ operations, and that minimal disruption of the media business is expected,” SCMP Group CEO Robin Hu said in a message to staff.

“We would also use our best endeavour to ensure the interests of employees would be well taken care of.”

He said that discussions are at a very early stage and the sale is subject to regulatory review and approval.

“[While] both parties will approach discussions in good faith, there is no guarantee such an outcome will ultimately materialise,” Hu said.

Over the past few weeks, there has been intense speculation that Jack Ma, chairman of the mainland internet giant Alibaba Group, was in talks to buy the Post’s media assets. Alibaba declined to comment and SCMP Group declined to reveal the identity of the potential buyer.

Hu said that the SCMP Group remained a profitable and professionally managed company with a robust print business, supplemented by a growing digital business and other lines. According to the group’s annual report, it has recorded consolidated annual revenues of over $1 billion in the past three years, and has consistently outperformed peers on profit margin.

“In serving our readers in Hong Kong and globally, and consistent with our long and distinguished history, the board and management remain committed to continue to run the South China Morning Post as an independent and insightful newspaper admired by peers and opinion leaders alike.”

“Editorial independence is fundamental to our global reputation and success, and is a key reason the SCMP is seen as a valuable asset. We believe it is in the best interest of shareholders large and small to preserve this core value.”

He said the company would continue its strategy of growing its core business, regardless of the outcome of the approach.