MALAYSIA: Malaysian media tycoon to establish conglomerate

By merging three of his Chinese-language publishing groups with a company based in Hong Kong, Tiong Hiew King will seek to expand globally

Taipei Times
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kuala Lumpur --- Malaysian media tycoon Tiong Hiew King is making a bid to merge his three Chinese-language publishing groups in Malaysia and Hong Kong to build one of the world's largest Chinese media conglomerates.

The merger will combine Tiong's Sin Chew Media Corp and Nanyang Press Holdings in Malaysia with Hong Kong-listed Ming Pao Enterprise Corp via a share swap.

Tiong is the majority shareholder in Sin Chew and Ming Pao and is in the process of buying Nanyang.

"The merger is a strategic move to transform Sin Chew Media into an international media group to compete with global media corporations," Tiong said in a statement yesterday.

Sin Chew in the same statement said the enlarged entity would "leverage on its extensive global footprint to expand into the media market in China as well as globally."

The new group "will emerge as one of the largest Chinese language print media platforms," it told Malaysia's bourse late on Monday.

The merger will see the enlarged group operating through a publishing merger of Chinese-language newspapers and magazines in Malaysia, Hong Kong, the US, Canada and China, it said.

Under the deal -- which must be signed by April 30 -- Sin Chew and Nanyang will be de-listed from Malaysia's bourse and replaced with Ming Pao.

Sin Chew and Nanyang will become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Ming Pao.

Figures released by investment bank CIMB, which is advising Sin Chew on the deal, showed that the share swap deal is valued at 1.54 billion ringgit (US$439.6 million).

"Ming Pao Enterprise will ... become the first company to have a dual primary listing in both Malaysia and Hong Kong," Sin Chew said.

The company's executive director, Rita Chin, said yesterday that the exercise was targeted to be completed by February next year, with Sin Chew and Nanyang shareholders expected to vote on the merger in the fourth quarter of this year.

Hailing from Malaysia's eastern Sarawak state, Tiong made his name as a timber tycoon before venturing into the media business.

Forbes this year said his net worth was about US$1 billion, listing him as number 746 of 793 billionaires worldwide.

Sin Chew publishes Malaysia's largest circulated Chinese newspaper, the Sin Chew Daily, while Nanyang produces the country's oldest Chinese-language daily, the Nanyang Siang Pau.

Ming Pao Group's major publications include the Ming Pao Daily News, which is published in Hong Kong, Toronto, Vancouver, New York and San Francisco.