Hong Kong’s SCMP Group has confirmed that there’s an interested third party in its media assets, namely the South China Morning Post newspaper, after interest from Alibaba’s Jack Ma was reported this week. Meg Teckman reports.
In the age of people getting more and more their news online, buying a stake in a newspaper may be an odd investment choice. But Alibaba's Jack Ma may be doing just that. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post confirmed late on Wednesday (November 25) that its parent company, SCMP Group, has been approached by a third party to buy its media assets after reports came out speculating on Ma's involvement this week. Jack Ma could be following the trend set by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post in 2013 in his own name, not his company's. But that's unlikely says Reuters Breakingviews' Asia Editor Peter Thal Larsen. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ASIA EDITOR, REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, PETER THAL LARSEN, SAYING: "Our understanding is that if this deal does happen, it will be Alibaba that buys the South China Morning Post, not Jack Ma himself. And I think as an Alibaba shareholder, you really have to wonder whether there's any financial or strategic logic to this deal or whether really the company is just being used to fuel the chairman's ego." The SCMP has been Hong Kong's main English language daily for over one hundred years and was once the source for news about the mainland. But its falling circulation numbers and revenue make the possible financial reasons behind the tie up less than black and white. ENDS