Sing Tao News lines up Metro Daily

Metro Publishing Hong Kong confirmed talks were back on the table to sell the local edition of Metro International, with Sing Tao News said to be a front runner.

"It is no secret that many publishing group are setting eyes on the Hong Kong business of Metro International," Peter Kuo, general manger of Metro Publishing, said.

"All I can assure you is that Sing Tao News is one of them and the negotiation is now ongoing," Kuo told Marketing.

The acquisition would see Sing Tao News consolidate its strength on the free newspaper market, namely Next Media and its free paper Sharp Daily. Metro Daily is freely distributed at MTR stations with a circulation of 400,940, according to HKABC.

Sing Tao News refused to admit the ongoing negotiation by saying "it is possible that the syndicate may re-enter into negotiations on the proposed acquisition, but no such negotiations are currently taking place" in its announcement on HKEX yesterday afternoon.

Agnes Lai, corporate affairs senior vice-president of Sing Tao News, said yesterday's stock exchange announcement was in response to an article on Apple Daily.

Apple Daily yesterday said Sign Tao will seal the deal in 10 days.

According to a South China Morning Post report, other suitors for the free newspaper included Lifestyle International Holdings, which was looking at a price range of HK$180 million to HK$200 million.

"We will not comment on the numbers mentioned on SCMP," Lai added.

Sing Tao News is now possessing two free papers Headline Daily and The Standard, where Headline Daily has a daily circulation of 854,120 daily in Q1 this year, according to HKABC.