Lai Won’t Attempt Sale of Taiwan Print Assets, Apple Daily Says

Hong Kong billionaire Jimmy Lai said he won’t attempt to sell his Taiwan newspaper and magazine business again after failing to do so earlier this week, Hong Kong-based Apple Daily reported today.

Both Apple Daily and Next Magazine’s Taiwan businesses are profitable, Lai said in an interview published on the paper’s Hong Kong website. In a separate interview posted on the paper’s Taiwan website, he said no job cuts are planned at his Taiwan business.

The sale by Next Media Ltd. collapsed amid protests that the NT$16 billion ($535 million) deal would silence a critical voice on China and give the buyers too much control of the island’s media. Investors led by Tsai Shao-Chung, whose family owns Taiwan’s China Times Group, proposed to buy Apple Daily, Sharp Daily and Next Magazine from Next Media.

Taiwan has been ruled separately from China since 1949 when the Kuomintang party fled to the island during a civil war with Communist forces. Relations between Taiwan and China reached their warmest in more than six decades as Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou focused on economic ties and dropped the pro-independence rhetoric of his predecessor.

Next Media will continue to sell its Taiwan TV business, Lai said in the interview with Apple Daily carried on the paper’s website in Taiwan.

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