A controversial sale of Hong Kong's Next Media in Taiwan has fallen through.
The planned deal was worth almost $600 million. Next Media's owner, Jimmy Lai, had been in talks with a group of Taiwanese businessmen to sell his media on the island. They include the Taiwan Apple Daily and Next TV.
Next Media said today it will let the deal lapse.
Many of Lai's media outlets are known to be critical of China. But the main buyer in the deal would've been the Want Want China Times Group. Its owners have come under scrutiny for being close to the Chinese regime.
The owner of the China Times Group, Tsai Engmeng pulled out of the deal before it was set to close tomorrow. After acquiring China Network Systems last July, the he was worried that anti-monopoly laws would interfere.
The proposed sale had drawn loud criticisms in Taiwan, with many fearing those media would become less robust with reporting on China-related issues.
For now, Next Media plans to continue operating its papers and magazine and is looking for another shareholder to take Tsai's place.
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