Media Prima eyeing Rev Asia portals, may pay RM100mil

PETALING JAYA: Media Prima Bhd, which fell into the red in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 (FY16), is looking to buy digital media portals belonging to Rev Asia Bhd, itself a unit of Internet company Catcha Group.

According to sources, the media group could be paying up to RM100mil worth of such portals from Rev Asia. Media Prima is keen to strengthen its online business.

Last Friday, Media Prima and Rev Asia in separate filings with Bursa Malaysia told the exchange they were suspending the trading of shares today for one market day pending the release of a material announcement.

Rev Asia share price closed last Friday at 97 sen, up 13 sen or about 16% on volume of 4.762 million shares.

The digital media group’s share price, which on average had been trading at about 65 sen for a long time, saw active trading in March when it hit new highs.

This was due to speculation that Rev Asia could be playing some kind of role the Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC), which will be located in Bandar Malaysia as some sort of tech hub, attracting some 1,000 Internet-related companies as tenants and become a hub to 25,000 tech professionals.

The Catcha Group shot to the limelight that month when it was selected to be the master developer of the KLIC, which is a key part of the Digital Free Trade Zone, which itself has been anchored by billionaire Internet entrepreneur Jack Ma and his company Ali Baba.

Catcha is known as one of Malaysia’s top Internet companies.

One of its biggest successes was when it was one of the shareholders that sold iProperty Group Ltd for a whopping A$751mil (RM2.3bil) in cash to Australian-based REA Group back in November 2015.

Catcha also owns iflix, which has to date successfully raised US$165mil (RM728mil), which has big name partners such as film giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and UK broadcaster.

Meanwhile. Media Prima’s shares were down by one sen to RM1.18 last Friday.

Sources noted that Media Prima’s interest in acquiring digital media portals is in line with the group’s strong focus on digital media as part of its diversification exercise amid challenges in the traditional media segment.

The acquisition of the media portals is expected to be announced “very soon” said a source, adding that this could help the group improve its earnings.

Media Prima Bhd fell into the red in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 (FY16), as it incurred RM97.9mil from a one-off restructuring exercise and RM43.4mil in start-up costs for new initiatives.

In a filing with Bursa, the media company reported a loss of RM59.2mil in FY16 against earnings of RM138.7mil in the preceding year.

Its revenue for the year fell by 10% to RM1.3bil, hit by lower advertising and newspaper sales as traditional media faced ongoing challenges with the shift to digital media.

Rev Asia , formerly known as Catcha Media Bhd, has been expanding rapidly to carve its forte in the digital media space as it last year bought three Malay content websites – Siraplimau, Myresipi and Kongsiresepi – for RM2.65mil, to further enhance its dominance in the emerging Malay-speaking online community.

Among REV Asia’s brands are, JUICE, OhBulan!, 8Share, Hanger, and Klips. It also exclusively operates, develops content and delivers advertising solutions for Business Insider South-East Asia.

The company reported a profit of RM6mil on a turnover of RM23.4mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016.

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