Hong Kong's first free newspaper Metro Daily confirms to local media that it is currently in talks with three companies, including a Japanese media group, a Taiwanese telecom and a Chinese brokerage firm, to sell its ownership for about HK$300 to 400 million.
Its owner Kenny Wee told Apple Daily that the company decided to sell Metro Daily last Friday (30 June), and titles that might be involved in the deal including Metro Daily, Metro Prosperity, and metropop.
With a plan to sell the publication 20 times its price-to-earning ratio, Wee added that two of the companies are now offering HK$400 million, while another is offering around HK$360 to 380 million for its stocks. One of the companies promises to invest more money on Metro Daily to develop its multimedia business.
Wee confirmed the deal will be sealed as early as this Friday (7 July 2017), adding that the conditions and interests for the staff are his top concerns. While one buyer suggests him and other top executives to stay in the company for at least three to five years, Wee said he tends not to retain the post.
Distributed from Mondays to Fridays in MTR stations and other key central locations, Metro Daily claims to have a daily average circulation of more than 400,000.
Launched in 2002, the free newspaper, formerly a subsidiary of the Swedish publication group Metro International S.A, was acquired by businessman Kenny Wee at HK$200 million.