Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has agreed to pay HK$2.06 billion ($265.8 million) to acquire Hong Kong’s flagship English-language newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the newspaper group said in a statement on Monday.
Alibaba and SCMP Group Ltd announced on Friday the Hangzhou-based company would buy the 112-year-old newspaper and other media properties, but did not put a value on the deal.
The purchase, which follows a string of media deals by Alibaba, is likely to raise concerns in Hong Kong where the South China Morning Post occupies an important position and is seen as a barometer for press freedom under Chinese rule.
In a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, SCMP cited an “uncertain” future for traditional publishing as a key reason behind the sale, adding Alibaba would likely be able to “unlock greater value” from the business.
SCMP Group had a turnover of around HK$1.2 billion in 2014, up slightly from 2013, it said. Net profit for the year was HK$122.6 million.
Alibaba has acquired or invested in a growing portfolio of media and content companies in recent years. In June, the company agreed to pay $194 million for an undisclosed stake in domestic financial media firm China Business News.