Next Media signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its print and television operations to Jeffrey Koo Jr., according to a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Koo is the eldest son of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co. founder and Chairman Jeffrey Koo Sr.I heard that the monetary issues weren't the real problem to Lai. Essentially, Lai is leaving the market because he felt the regulatory cards had been stacked against him. Lai wrote in WSJ on this two years ago over the cable company mess. Lai's Apple Daily, which I have had a love-hate relationship with over the years, had successfully managed to position itself as a non-partisan paper in Taiwan's highly partisan media environment, an awesome feat. Both Forbes (Taiwan poised to lose defender of free speech) and WaPo (China Critic to Sell Taiwan Media holdings) acknowledged the political issues involved in the sale.
The sale marks the exit of the Hong Kong mogul, known for criticizing the Chinese government, from Taiwanese media as business and political ties improve between the island and China. Lai’s foray into Taiwan’s television industry in 2010 led to two straight annual losses for Next Media as the company battled regulators for licenses and distribution rights.
Nice try, Mr Lai. Better luck next time.
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