SPH to sell stake in Hong Kong publisher

SINGAPORE Press Holdings said yesterday it will sell most of its stake in a Hong Kong publisher. Through its wholly owned indirect subsidiary Magazines Incorporated, SPH will sell 80 per cent of its stake in MI Publishing (MIHK) to Sing Tao Holdings (BVI). Magazines Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of SPH Magazines.

SPH did not say how much it will be paid for the stake. ‘The consideration will be 80 per cent of the net asset value of the entire share capital and will be determined in the completion accounts to be finalised on or around Nov 15,’ it said.

The shares will be transferred to Sing Tao Holdings, which owns media company Sing Tao News Corp, when conditions under a sale-and-purchase agreement are fulfilled, SPH said. MIHK will no longer be a subsidiary of SPH but will remain an associate. After completion of the transaction, MIHK will continue to publish The Peak Hong Kong under a publishing licence arrangement with SPH Magazines, SPH said.

The divestment is not expected to have a material impact on SPH’s earnings or net tangible assets per share for the financial year ending Aug 31, 2009.

As it hives off its stake, SPH is getting into the book publishing business in Singapore. It said last month it will set up a book publishing business under its subsidiary Straits Times Press. It has taken over the contracts and intellectual property rights of SNP International Publishing, the book publishing arm of SNP Corp.

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