China Alibaba buying Hong Kong South China Morning Post for 266 Dollar Million

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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.

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Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.