Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) announced that it has agreed to acquire Hong Kong’s daily English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The deal also includes other media assets of SCMP Group Limited, a publishing group in Hong Kong.
Alibaba believes that the South China Morning Post is a unique paper in China covering news in English language. The e-commerce giant plans to “expand the SCMP’s readership globally through digital distribution and easier access to content,” according to SCMP Chief Executive Officer Robin Hu.
Under the agreement, Alibaba Group Holding will acquire the flagship South China Morning Post newspaper, as well as the magazine, recruitment, outdoor media, events and conferences, education and digital media businesses of SCMP Group. Other SCMP titles include the Sunday Morning Post, its digital platforms SCMP.com and related mobile apps, and the two Chinese websites Nanzao.com and Nanzaozhinan.com.
Additionally, the acquisition includes a portfolio of magazine titles including the Hong Kong editions of Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, The PEAK and Harper’s Bazaar.
“With proven expertise especially in mobile Internet, Alibaba is in an excellent position to leverage technology to create content more efficiently and reach a global audience,” Hu stated, adding that “we welcome Alibaba’s commitment to invest additional resources in its editorial and business operations to make the SCMP even stronger.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In a letter to letter to readers of the South China Morning Post, Joseph C. Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, states that Alibaba wants to grow the readership globally. The company believes that the SCMP is uniquely positioned to report on China for readers around the English-speaking world, who care to better understand the world’s second largest economy.
According to the letter, a change in ownership the South China Morning Post will not compromise the paper’s editorial independence.
“In reporting the news, the SCMP will be objective, accurate and fair. This means having the courage to go against conventional wisdom, and taking care to verify stories, check sources and seek all viewpoints. These day-to-day editorial decisions will be driven by editors in the newsroom, not in the corporate boardroom,” according to the letter.