Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA), is reportedly in talks to purchase a stake in South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong. The move would make Ma the latest Internet tycoon to pursue a revival of the newspaper.
According to sources close to the matter, discussions are already at an advanced stage. A signing ceremony is expected to be announced soon. No financial details have been revealed as of yet.
SCMP was once the most profitable newspaper in the world, poor circulation and tumbling earnings plagued the paper as more people shifted to online news outlets. Robert Kuok, Malaysian billionaire, has maintained control of the paper since purchasing Rupert Murdoch’s stake in 1993.
SCMP Group Ltd. has posted profit declines over the last three years, and has been prohibited from trading since February 2013 after failing to have at least 25% of its shares held by minority investors.
The 112-year old newspaper is the company’s most prominent asset, but SCMP also operates a number of other businesses, including magazines, recruitment and contract printing.
Earlier in November, rumors circulated that Alibaba was considering investing in SCMP Group. Alibaba and SCMP both declined to comment on the rumors.