Next Digital Ltd., the publishing firm formerly known as Next Media Ltd., said the proposed sale of most of its magazine operation in Hong Kong and Taiwan to W Bros. Investments has been delayed until the end of October.
The parties signed an agreement on Wednesday extending the deadline to Oct. 31, Apple Daily reports.
The buyer is understood to have increased the deposit to HK$60 million from HK$40 million and will pay an additional amount in five days.
The parties also agreed that the monthly operating deficit of the magazines should be capped at HK$5 million from the date of the latest agreement until the purchase is completed.
Next Magazine chief editor Louise Wong Lai-sheung, who is to leave her post after Nov. 15, said that the delay was because Kenny Wee Ho, the owner of W Bros. Investments, is awaiting approval from the Taiwanese authorities for the deal.
Although Next Magazine is still owned by Next Media until Oct. 31, the upcoming issue will be handled by Wee’s new team.
Seventy of Next Magazine’s 100 staff have been transferred to the new business entity. One of the workers said he is worried that the transaction might collapse and they would be left out of the loop.
“There have been many conspiracy theories concerning the deal. Until the transaction is really done, there will be so many loopholes and grey areas that my colleagues and I will feel uncertain about our future,” another employee said.
Next Media chief executive Cassian Cheung Ka-sing said the buyer needs more time to prepare for the transition.
He said the fact that the buyer was willing to raise the deposit was solid proof of the buyer’s intent to purchase.
The next issues of Next Magazine will be published as usual. Cheung said he would meet all employees on Thursday to announce the latest developments.
The Next Media Union held a meeting with Cheung on Wednesday.
Cheung told the union that all wages would be paid by Next Media, pending the sale.
Meanwhile, Wee said he expects the deal to be completed by mid-October.
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