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Next Media sells TV unit to ERA Communciations

Next Media set to sell Next Media’s Taiwan TV unit to Lien Tai-sheng, chairman of Taiwan cable systems operator ERA Communications for US$47million after the anti-Beijing unit faced difficulty getting permits in the island to expand its broadcasting business.

The media business, which has been in the red, will lose US$67.4m (HK$522.8m) after sales, according to Bloomberg.

The news come after rumours of Jimmy Lai (pictured) selling the business to Chinatrust Charity chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr, who was also interested in buying Next TV’s office building as of last Friday. The report sparked a 7.1% gain in Next Media shares to HK$0.9 that afternoon.

Just last month, a deal to sell Next TV along with Next Media’s Taiwan print operations to a group of Chinese men fell through.

In 2012, ERA provided service to 1.9% of Taiwan’s cable market; it operates the island’s popular TVB channels and competes with media controlled by Tsai Eng-Meng, one of the businesspeople rumoured to abandon Next Media’s deal in March.

Lai started his Taiwan business in 2001, when he brought Next Magazine to the market. Apple Daily was introduced to Taiwan two years later and Next TV was launched in 2010, but has been operating as an online TV channel as the licensing process was delayed by the government.

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