Jack Ma To Extend His Media Dynasty Through Acquiring Stake In Caixin Media

By Staff Writer

Mar 03, 2016 07:23 AM EST

A financial affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. has been reported negotiating for investment in Chinese business magazine publisher Caixin Media Co. Through this investment billionaire founder Jack Ma is going to expand his interest in media business.

Caixin Media Co., founded by Hu Shuli, has confirmed through a press release on Wednesday, negotiating with several potential new investors on a possible stake sale. The press release doesn't elaborate anything on the deal or mention any name. But it reveals that all the negotiating parties have primarily agreed not to violate Caixin's editorial independence, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg has reported that the potential investors include Ma's Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co. (Ant Financial) among others. However, it confirms that no deal has yet been signed and its sources have declined to make further comment or be identified since the matter is private. Ant Financial operates Alipay and Alipay Wallet.

Alibaba, the Hangzhou, China based ecommerce web portal, has been expanding its business portfolio in the media and content industries. The company has announced reaching an agreement for acquiring Hong Kong based South China Morning Post (SCMP) and other media assets of SCMP Group for $266 million in December, according to a report published in Reuters.

Caixin owns a news website, mobile applications and conference business. Investment in the media company by an affiliate of Alibaba has been analyzed as a mark of connection between Ma and the publisher's Chairman Li Ruigang.

Earlier in November, Alibaba has created CMC Holdings forming a team with Li of Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Oriza Holdings. Li is a former chairman of Shanghai Media Group, which has formed a joint venture with Alibaba last year. The venture has been formed for developing a financial data and information service.

Jack Ma has been publicly criticised by Hu Shuli in 2011 over his handling of the transfer of Alipay, Alibaba's online-payment unit. Ma at that time has appeared tricky pointing Ms. Hu's little knowledge about the issue to pass judgment. However, Ant Financial hasn't yet secured approval from principal shareholders Yahoo Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp.

Meanwhile, Wang Shuai has responded to reports on the talks of Caixin stake on his personal micro-blog expressing no interest in controlling media. The Bloomberg source has also hinted that the magazine won't be manipulated by any share-holder's commercial interest while sticking with its principles.

In 2011, Caixin Media founder Hu Shuli has criticized Alibaba chairman Jack Ma over his handling of Alipay transfer. On Wednesday, Caixin fas confirmed negotiating for selling some stakes with potential investors. Though the media company hasn't revealed any investor's name, Bloomberg informs Ant financial appears among the investors. Industry insiders get a little bit curious on Ma's possible retaliatory efforts.  

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