SCMP’s CEO Gary Liu said in the letter that Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s co-founder and SCMP’s chairman, had asked him to pass on a message that there were no plans for a change in ownership.
“There has never been any discussion about SCMP’s ownership, and Alibaba has no plans for any change. There’s no basis for any rumour or speculation,” Liu quoted Tsai as saying.
Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Bauhinia Culture (Hong Kong) Holdings Ltd was working on an offer that could bring the 118-year-old English language newspaper under its stable of media properties.
Bloomberg also said other state-backed entities could look to submit offers for SCMP, adding a deal may not happen.
The SCMP declined to comment on the internal letter. A spokesperson said that any reports suggesting Alibaba was considering a sale were “incorrect”.
Alibaba, whose founder Jack Ma came under fire for criticising China’s financial watchdogs last year, has been under pressure from the Chinese government to divest some of its media assets, including the SCMP, Bloomberg News reported in March. (Reuters)