HNA IN TALKS TO BUY KEY STAKE IN FORBES

China firm is said to be ne­go­ti­at­ing deal worth at least US$400m

New Straits Times - - Business -

HONG KONG

AC­QUIS­I­TIVE Chi­nese con­glom­er­ate HNA Group is in talks to buy a con­trol­ling stake in the owner of the pub­lisher of Forbes magazine, said two sources with knowl­edge of the mat­ter.

In­te­grated Whale Me­dia In­vest­ments (IWM), which held 95 per cent of Forbes Me­dia, was also in talks with an­other Chi­nese me­dia firm and was scout­ing for more po­ten­tial buy­ers for most or all of its stake, said one of the sources.

HNA, ranked 353rd in the 2016 For­tune Global list of the world’s Ltd and Am­perex Tech­nol­ogy Ltd.

Anal­y­sis from Sam­sung and in­de­pen­dent re­searchers found no other prob­lems in the Note 7 de­vices ex­cept the bat­ter­ies, rais­ing spec­u­la­tion that Sam­sung would re­coup some of its losses by sell­ing big­gest 500 com­pa­nies, had been in dis­cus­sions for a cou­ple of weeks with IWM for a deal worth at least US$400 mil­lion (RM1.77 bil­lion), said the source.

The move comes three years af­ter the Forbes fam­ily, which founded the Amer­i­can fi­nan­cial magazine 100 years ago, gave up its con­trol­ling stake in Forbes Me­dia to IWM.

That trans­ac­tion val­ued the Forbes com­pany at US$475 mil­lion, said a source.

HNA, which has more than US$100 bil­lion in as­sets, has been on an ac­qui­si­tion spree ex­pand­ing out of its tra­di­tional busi­ness of avi­a­tion and lo­gis­tics into fi­nan­cial, me­dia and cul­tural sec­tors.

Late last year, HNA Cap­i­tal, the group’s fi­nan­cial arm, bought an 80 per cent stake in Bei­jing Lian­ban Caixun Cul­tural Me­dia, a me­dia firm that runs the web­site of in­flu­en­tial fi­nan­cial pub­li­ca­tion Cai­jing magazine, for an undis­closed sum, records with China’s re­fur­bished Note 7s.

A per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said in Jan­uary that the group was con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of sell­ing re­fur­bished ver­sions of the de­vice or reusing some parts.

Sam­sung’s an­nounce­ment that state-run cor­po­rate reg­is­ter showed.

“Go­ing for­ward, HNA will con­tinue to scout for good-qual­ity do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional me­dia as­sets,” said the se­cond source. “HNA wants to dis­play pub­li­ca­tions owned or in­vested by it on its planes, in its ho­tels across the world.”

The me­dia deals are tak­ing place at a time when Bei­jing is flex­ing its “soft power” mus­cles to ex­tend its global in­flu­ence.

Last year, China Central Tele­vi­sion, the coun­try’s largest TV net­work, said it would launch a new global me­dia plat­form to help re-brand China over­seas.

Chi­nese In­ter­net gi­ant Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd has also ac­quired in a grow­ing port­fo­lio of me­dia and con­tent firms in the past few years. It snapped up Hong Kong’s flag­ship English-lan­guage news­pa­per the South China Morn­ing Post and other me­dia as­sets of SCMP Group Ltd for US$266 mil­lion in late 2015. Reuters re­vamped Note 7s will go back on sale, how­ever, sur­prised some with the tim­ing — just days be­fore it launches its new S8 smart­phone to­day in the United States, its first new pre­mium phone since the de­ba­cle last year. Reuters

REUTERS PIC

Sam­sung’s Galaxy Note 7s were per­ma­nently scrapped in Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing a global re­call, roughly two months af­ter the launch of the near US$900 de­vices.

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