SPH Magazines revamps ops for expansion - Nov 03, 2004 (BT)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH Magazines revamps ops for expansion

Nov 03, 2004
The Business Times

SPH Magazines (SPHM), which recently acquired the publishing business of Blue Inc, has joined forces with a prominent Malaysian businessman to strengthen its foothold in Malaysia, parent Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) said yesterday.

SPH said its magazine arm has entered into various agreements with Simpletech, which is principally owned by Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Nor. He is a director of Berita Publishing, a joint venture partner with SPHM.

Berita Publishing publishes and distributes magazines such as Her World Malaysia and provides contract publishing services in Malaysia under a deal signed in July 2003.

The agreements yesterday will pave the way for a series of complex restructuring exercises within the SPHM stable of magazine business on both sides of the Causeway.

There will be two joint ventures in Singapore and one in Malaysia.

In essence, SPHM's effective stake in the larger Malaysian operations will be slashed and that of its Malaysian partner will be raised.

SPHM's effective stake in the Malaysian operations of Blu Inc Media Sdn Bhd will be cut to 46 per cent from 72 per cent, while that in Magazine World Sdn Bhd will be increased from 30 per cent to 35 per cent.

SPH said the revamp will give SPHM a stronger platform to expand into the region.

'SPHM now has a stake in a larger entity, and with a strong partner like Mr Ibrahim who knows the Malaysian publishing business intimately, we will have a stronger platform to grow and expand,' said SPHM chairman Arthur Seet.

Mr Ibrahim said in the SPH statement: 'I am very optimistic of the future of this partnership as it brings to the table three synergistic interests: the Blu Inc group, which is one of the most energetic and creative teams in the country; the SPH Magazines Group, an established and reputable magazine player in the region; and my own entrepreneurial track record which will complement and help this strategic alliance and make the joint ventures, collectively, a formidable player in the regional magazine industry.'

Mr Ibrahim is no stranger to the Malaysian corporate scene.

He has held senior positions in Sistem Televisyen Malaysia, better known as TV3, Padiberas Nasional, Malakoff and The New Straits Times Press.

The acquisition of Blu Inc's publishing business has boosted SPHM's number of magazine titles to 63.

SPHM has also made inroads into Indonesia, Thailand and China.

This is SPH's second major restructure of its publishing business in less than three months.

In September, SPH and rival MediaCorp announced the merger of their free-to-air TV stations and free newspapers.