November 25, 2015 / 3:27 PM / 4 years ago

RPT-Hong Kong's SCMP Group confirms approached about possible sale of media assets

(Repeats to additional subscribers)

SINGAPORE, Nov 25 (Reuters) - SCMP Group Ltd, publisher of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, said it has been approached by a third party that is potentially interested in acquiring its media assets, days after reports that Alibaba’s Jack Ma was in talks to buy a stake.

“The board confirms that the company has received a preliminary approach from a third party regarding its interest in a possible purchase of the company’s media assets,” SCMP said in a filing on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday.

“Consideration of such proposal is at a very early stage and the terms of any potential transaction remain subject to discussion and to regulatory review.”

On Monday, Bloomberg had reported that Ma, founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, was in advanced talks to take a stake in SCMP Group, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter. It did not say what size stake.

Bloomberg also said a signing ceremony would be announced soon, though it did not elaborate on financial details.

The China Daily newspaper reported rumours of an investment in SCMP by Ma or Alibaba on Nov. 9.

Alibaba, which acquired a stake in Chinese financial media firm China Business News in June, and its affiliates have been expanding into the media sector with a number of deals in news and advertising. (Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; additional reporting by Bengaluru newsroom; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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