Government to review Next Magazine sale

A deal for selling the Taiwan edition of Next Magazine is under review but can be blocked if sourced from a Chinese investor.

Image New York Times

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The sale of Next Magazine to a Hong Kong group needs approval from the Taiwan government but could be rejected if funding is sourced from China.

On Monday, the Investment Commission confirmed the news of the new deal that is currently under the government’s review. Hong Kong-based Next Digital Ltd. wants to sell properties including the Hong Kong and the Taiwanese editions of Next Magazine to another Hong Kong-based media group.

Chu Ping (朱萍), a section chief of the commission, said that the Next Digital media group wants to sell its magazine assets in Taiwan, although the deal is under review it could be blocked if any Chinese investor is involved as the magazine is part of the local publishing industry.

The media group announced Monday it was planning to sell some of its magazine assets to W Brothers Investments Ltd. for HK$500 million (US$64.26 million).

Kenny Wee, the owner of W Brothers, is also the former owner of Metro Daily, a free newspaper in Hong Kong which was sold to a financial company in early July for HK$400 million (US$51.26 million).

Next Digital said their deal with the potential buyer is still under discussion and that W Brothers Investments has already made an earnest payment of HK$10 million for the deal. The group also confirmed that no other discussion or offers will be accepted by any other buyer until December 31.

In addition to Next Magazine, the deal would also be aimed to dispose of four other titles namely, Sudden Weekly, Face, ME! and Next+One.

Next Digital, owned by Jimmy Lai (黎智英), also publishes Taiwan and Hong Kong versions of the Apple Daily newspaper, but they are not included in the proposed sale to W Brothers.