Chinese tycoon's daughter buys Hong Kong newspaper control

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Ms Kwok Hiu-ting, the daughter of Kaisa Group Holdings chairman, has agreed to buy the controlling stake in major Hong Kong media firm Sing Tao News for about HK$370 million (S$64 million).

The sale would make Sing Tao the latest Hong Kong media company to be taken over by people with links to mainland Chinese groups, at a time when Beijing is cracking down on the former British colony.

Mr Charles Ho, the chairman of Sing Tao, agreed to dispose 246.6 million shares at an average price of HK$1.50 each on Jan 28, according to disclosure filings to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday (Feb 2). The Hong Kong tycoon will cut his stake to about 3.4 per cent from 31.37 per cent after the transaction.

Ms Kwok, 26, who is on the board of Kaisa Prosperity Holdings, entered a deal to buy the exact amount of Sing Tao shares on the same day and will hold a 28 per cent stake, a separate filing shows. She is the daughter of Mr Kwok Ying-shing, chairman and co-founder of the Shenzhen-based conglomerate.

The average price represents a 65 per cent premium to Sing Tao’s last close of HK$0.91. Shares in Sing Tao have been suspended since Jan 29, pending a takeover code announcement.

Some major news outlets in Hong Kong are already under mainland Chinese control, while media tycoon Jimmy Lai – founder of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper – is facing trials on multiple charges.

The city’s dominant television broadcaster, Television Broadcasts, better known as TVB, has an ownership structure that masks the influence of mainland media tycoon Li Ruigang.

Hong Kong’s largest English-language newspaper, South China Morning Post, was bought by Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding in a US$266 million deal that was completed in 2016.

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