News / Asia

Deal to Sell Irreverent Taiwan Media Group Collapses

The logo of Next Media is seen at its headquarters in Taipei, January 21, 2013.
The logo of Next Media is seen at its headquarters in Taipei, January 21, 2013.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan’s Next Media group is known worldwide for its racy animated graphics, but the company drew scrutiny last year when a group of buyers with ties to China proposed buying most of the group’s media assets. The deal raised fears that China would try to control the island’s free media. 

Next Media expected to sell its daily newspaper, TV operation and two magazines for $586 million. But on Wednesday the buyers' consortium declined to extend a deadline for completing the sale. Next Media says the deal is cancelled and assets are no longer for sale.

Next Media Commercial Director Mark Simon declines to say why the buyers pulled out but says it was not for political reasons. He says the media group is now off the market.

"The thing is they pulled out." he said. "It’s kind of a done deal. It’s a done story now. The investment bankers are coming over and have this deal for you and this and that. Everyone is trying to make a buck off of us. If you are going to put the company up again, you’re shopping around, all the employees are getting upset, everybody’s sitting there and you drive down the value."

Next Media says it had lost more than $200 million on its Taiwan television station after branching out from its head office in Hong Kong to the island in 2003. The organization run by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai lost money in part by giving away set-top receiver boxes.  The company also says Taiwan regulations had stopped it from expanding its television services.

But the company’s Apple Daily newspaper, which has the widest daily circulation in Taiwan, and its colorful magazines have earned money. Next Media’s animated graphics have made splashes worldwide. A graphic on the 2009 car crash of golf superstar Tiger Woods and a lifelike cartoon spoof of the 2012 U.S. election campaign caught attention in the United States and got Next Media mentions on American comedy shows.

In 2010, Next Media’s Internet connection reached about 15 million between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Next Media says two members of the consortium backed out of the deal that was to close on Wednesday. One member was the head of the Want Want Group, which was  to take a 32 percent share of Next Media. That group already controls several Taiwanese media outlets seen as warm toward China, where it has other business interests.

Activists and academics in Taiwan had feared that the Chinese government was behind the acquisition deal and that Taiwan’s media should not let the Beijing government get so close. They claim some credit for the cancelled sale and say that because their voices were heard, Taiwan’s legislature is looking into a bill that would ban media monopolies.

China has claimed self-ruled Taiwan since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s. Journalists on the island say that, in the past five years Beijing has sought influence over local media to tell Taiwanese about its economic strengths and lure them toward reunification.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs