SPH – BT

SPH sells 20% 701Sou stake to Star

MEDIA group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is selling a 20 per cent stake in 701Sou (Hong Kong) Pte Ltd to Malaysia’s Star Publications for $5 million.

In a statement yesterday, SPH said that the sale by its subsidiary SPH Interactive International (SPHII) was on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis and completion was expected to be within 14 days.

701Sou provides online directory search services in China through its website (701Sou.com).

Launched last November, the site has attracted a monthly visitor rate of six million and a return visitor rate of over 28 per cent.

On completion of the transaction, SPHII will still be the major shareholder of 701Sou with a direct 55 per cent stake and an indirect 5 per cent stake through its 50:50 joint venture company 701Search Pte Ltd, which owns 10 per cent of 701Sou. Fung Choi Printing owns 15 per cent.

This is the second time that SPHII has formed an alliance with Star Publications.

In April last year, the group forged a joint venture with Star Publications for the provision of online directory search services in Malaysia through 701Panduan.

Like 701Sou.com, 701Panduan.com has also grown to be a popular site with local users. ‘Launched since March this year, the site averages a monthly visitor rate of one million and a return visitor rate of 30 per cent,’ said SPH.

SPH CEO Alan Chan said: ‘Following 701Panduan, we are confident that the synergistic partnership between SPH and Star Publications will continue to contribute to the success of 701Sou.

‘We look forward to more future collaborations between the two media powerhouses.’

The transaction has no material impact on the earnings per share or the net assets per share of SPH for the financial year ending Aug 31, 2009.

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