PETALING JAYA: Businessman Datuk Siew Ka Wei and partner Datuk Mohamad Al-Amin Abdul Majid are in talks with Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI) to interest the group in investing in the Redberry Media Group, sources close to Redberry said.
“Talks have started with MUI officials to divest a stake in their media assets, namely tabloid The Malay Mail, including plans for making it an evening paper,” said one source. The Redberry group also manages business daily The Malaysian Reserve.
Siew could not be reached by StarBiz for comments on the matter.
The sources added that MUI group officials have studied the investment proposition and have yet to come to a decision.
The sources also said the MUI group's patriarch Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng had expressed keenness on the project probably due to his experience in print media, having once been an investor in the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Khoo became a non-executive director of SCMP in 1994 and is still on the board.
SCMP is an English language Hong Kong newspaper, published by the SCMP group with a circulation of 104,000. This circulation has remained relatively constant since 2000.
Sources also said that there have been suggestions to Khoo to try to get the interest of billionaire Robert Kuok to come in as an investor in Redberry.
This isn't surprising, considering Kuok's flagship company, the Kerry group, is already a majority shareholder of SCMP with a 69.58% stake. The managing director of SMPC is Kuok's daughter, Kuok Hui Kwong.
Meanwhile, The Malay Mail, which went on hiatus on Nov 15, will return as a morning national newspaper in January under an ambitious makeover to possibly include content from the SCMP and the Malaysiakini news portal.
Redberry is controlled by Siew and Mohamad Al-Amin who are believed to be close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Siew is the group managing director and chief operating officer of Ancom Bhd, in which he has a direct and indirect interest of some 16%. Ancom wholly owns the Redberry group.
Siew is also the group managing director of Nylex Malaysia Bhd.
It had been reported that Siew and Mohamad Al-Amin were in talks with at least three parties, including Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, the man dubbed as Malaysia's “AP King”, to divest a stake in their media assets.