KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): UMNO has sold its 11.09% stake in Media Prima Bhd, the country’s largest media group, to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who already owns equity interest in Utusan Melayu Bhd and The Malaysian Reserve, according to sources.
With the shares in hand, Syed Mokhtar is now the third largest shareholder in Media Prima.
UMNO is still left with a 7.96% stake in Media Prima after the share sale. The stake is held through Altima Inc, which is the fourth biggest shareholder in the media group that has presence across newspaper, TV and radio in three languages.
At press time, it is not known if UMNO will also sell the remaining shares to Syed Mokhtar.
UMNO’s block of 123.02 million shares transacted, was held through Gabungan Kesturi Sdn Bhd. The shares exchanged hands through an off market deal at the price of 60 sen a share yesterday (July 2), at a premium of 23.7% to it's closing price of 48.5 sen yesterday.
According to Bloomberg data, the shares were transacted in one block, worth a total of RM73.81 million.
Interestingly, the single largest shareholder is Mitsubishi UFJ, holding 12.84% or 42.29 million shares. It emerged as a substantial shareholder in 2017. It is not known if Mitsubishi UFJ is the ultimate shareholder or is holding the shares on behalf of an investor.
Employees Provident Fund is the second largest shareholder, with an 11.92% stake.
Meanwhile, London-based investment management firm Edgbaston Investment Partners LLP is another foreign name on the substantial shareholder list. Edgbaston currently holds a 5.38% stake in Media Prima.
Media Prima publishes three newspapers and operates six free-to-air television channels, as well as four radio stations. It is also a leading player in outdoor advertising. Furthermore, it owns some prime land.
The group has turned to the digital segment for higher contributions to mitigate a shrinking revenue from traditional media platforms.
For the first financial quarter ended March 31, 2019 (1QFY19), the group saw its net loss widen to RM40.41 million, from RM21.83 million for the same period last year, as it continued to record declining advertising expenditure and newspaper sales.
Quarterly revenue declined 14.8% to RM239.1 million from RM280.67 million, as the group registered lower revenue across all but its home-shopping segment.
On Monday (July 1), Datuk Syed Hussian Syed Junid, who is the group chairman of Western Digital Sdn Bhd, took over as the group chairman of Media Prima. He replaces Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad, whose tenure ended on June 30.
At midday break today, Media Prima dipped 1.03% or 0.5 sen to 48 sen, for a market capitalisation of RM532.42 million.