Firm linked to Syed Mokhtar is buyer of Umno’s 11% stake in Media Prima

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 5, 2019.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Private company Aurora Mulia Sdn Bhd, whose board members include tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s son, has emerged as the one that took over the 11.09% stake in Media Prima Bhd from Umno’s Gabungan Kesturi Sdn Bhd.

This was revealed in a stock exchange filing by Media Prima yesterday. A search with the Companies Commission of Malaysia showed Syed Mokhtar’s son, Syed Danial Syed Mokhtar Shah, is on Aurora Mulia’s board.

This confirms The Edge Financial Daily’s report yesterday that Umno had sold the block of 123.02 million shares in the  media group, through Gabungan Kesturi, to Syed Mokhtar. The share purchase makes the tycoon, who already owns a 14.76% stake in Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd besides having interest in The Malaysian Reserve, the third-largest shareholder of Media Prima.

The transaction, via a direct business transaction on Tuesday, was carried out at 60 sen a share, a premium of 23.71% to Monday’s closing price of 48.5 sen.

Media Prima’s share price closed unchanged at 48.5 sen yesterday. Over the past 12 months, the stock has been trading between 32.5 sen and 60 sen. Year to date, it has risen 41%.

Meanwhile, Utusan Online, citing sources,  said Syed Mokhtar is also in the final stages of acquiring Umno’s remaining 7.96% in Media Prima, held under Altima Inc, via Aurora Mulia. Should the tycoon acquire the block of shares, he  will emerge as the largest shareholder of Media Prima with a 19.5% stake.

Currently, Mitsubishi UFJ is the single largest shareholder of Media Prima with 42.29 million shares or a 12.84% stake. It is not known if Mitsubishi UFJ is the ultimate shareholder or is holding the shares on behalf of a client.

Other substantial shareholders of Media Prima include the Employees Provident Fund with 11.92%, as well as London-based investment management firm Edgbaston Investment Partners LLP with 5.38% — the fifth-largest single shareholder of the group.


Najib: Umno had to sell the stake as NST no longer friendly

Meanwhile, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Umno had to dispose of its 11.09% stake in Media Prima as the latter’s English daily, the New Straits Times (NST), is no longer friendly to the political party.

“Well, it is necessary for Umno. Anyway, Media Prima is not effectively controlled by Umno anyway. So, if we have that minority stake, it doesn’t mean much because the NST is not really friendly to us anymore,” he told reporters.