Taiwan's Apple Daily has more than one potential buyer

12/27/2021 01:47 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's online newspaper Apple Daily, which has been put up for sale, said on Monday that more than one potential buyer is interested in purchasing the publication.

The newspaper is in the process of being sold, with more than one potential buyer, and Avengers Ltd. is the most active one, Apple Daily said, citing a notice issued by the Hong Kong-based accounting firm Kenny Tam & Co., which serves as the provisional liquidators of the daily's parent company Next Digital Ltd.

Taiwan's Apple Daily, a sister publication of Hong Kong's Apple Daily, which stopped publishing both its print and online versions in June, said Avengers does not get any funding from China and doesn't have any background related to the mainland.

The publication said the main shareholder of Avengers' has been living in Taiwan for years with a lot of experience in running media, and has shown strong interest in Apple Daily.

Apple Daily said if the transaction is completed, the publication is expected to maintain its long term neutral editorial stance, adding that it is also planning to increase coverage of entertainment and food-related stories.

Apple Daily added that Kenny Tam & Co. hopes that the deal to dispose of the Taiwanese publication will be completed as soon as possible to allow a smooth liquidation of the parent Next Digital. The liquidation order was issued by the High Court in Hong Kong on Dec. 15.

Taiwan's Apple Daily was founded in 2003 by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英), who is serving a 20-month sentence in jail after being convicted in four unauthorized assembly cases.

On May 18, the publication went online by stopping its print edition, but it has reportedly run out of funds.

The Taiwan version of the tabloid Next Magazine, also owned by Next Digital, ceased its online publication on Feb. 29, 2020, less than two years after closing its print edition and almost two decades after launching its product in the Taiwan market.

The 18 million Hong Kong dollar (US$2.3 million) assets of Next Digital, which was renamed from Next Media in October 2015 but became defunct in June, have been frozen by a court. The order to wind up Next Digital will bring the 40-year-old company to an end.

Trading of shares of Next Digital have been suspended on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since June 17.

In April, Taiwan's Presidential Office condemned the sentencing of 74-year-old Lai and others in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, saying that the move will further curtail Hong Kongers' right to public assembly.

Lai is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 28 for his national security case.

(By Yeh Kuan-ying and Frances Huang)

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