Singapore

SPH divests Mediacorp TV, Press stakes


Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) plans to divest its 20 per cent stake in Mediacorp TV and 40 per cent holding in Mediacorp Press, the publisher of the Today newspaper, for $18 million, the company said yesterday.

The proposed divestment follows Mediacorp's decision to cease the print edition of Today.

Incoming SPH chief executive Ng Yat Chung, who assumes the role next Friday, said it would allow SPH to focus on its core media business.

"Free-to-air television is not core to SPH's business, and the divestment of the stake in Today follows Mediacorp's decision to turn it into a fully digital product," he said in a statement.

"This rationalisation will allow us to focus our energies on serving our audience and advertisers best through a suite of strong media products across the print, digital and radio platforms."

Mr Warren Fernandez, SPH's editor-in-chief of the English, Malay and Tamil Media group, said: "The Straits Times and its sister papers, The New Paper and The Business Times, will redouble our efforts across our print, online and mobile platforms.

"We will not let up and will strive to ensure that readers in Singapore remain well served."

SPH CEO Alan Chan noted that SPH has recouped its investment in Mediacorp Press and Mediacorp TV, after taking into account the $18 million sale and the dividends received over the years.

The deal is likely to be completed at the end of next month, and SPH expects to record a write-down of about $31 million in its books.

However, this follows the earlier announced sale of online classifieds business 701Search, on which SPH is expected to recognise a profit of about $150 million.

The deal comes 12 years after SPH bought the stakes as part of a media industry asset consolidation in 2005.

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY

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