Next's owner Lai said in a statement that the disposal would allow the company to rationalise and focus its resources on its profitable operations. —Photo (File) AFP
Next Media's owner Lai said in a statement that the disposal would allow the company to rationalise and focus its resources on its profitable operations. —Photo (File) AFP

TAIPEI: Next Media Ltd plans to sell its Taiwan television unit to Era Communications Co Ltd chairman Lien Tai-sheng for NT$1.4 billion ($46.78 million), the group's latest effort to offload the loss-making business after a deal to sell its entire newspaper and TV empire fell through last month.

Next Media, owned by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, said in a statement on Monday that the disposal would allow the company to rationalise and focus its resources on its profitable operations which should in turn enable the company to improve its overall business performance.

Lien's Era is one of Taiwan's major media groups, running four news channels and entertainment channels combined.

Next Media signed a deal in November with five Taiwan tycoons to sell its Taiwan print and TV assets for NT$17.5 billion ($601 million), although the agreement with pro-China forces sparked fears it could spell trouble for press freedom on the island and was scrapped.

Among the Taiwanese buyers were Want Want China Times Group President Tsai Shao-Chung, son of Want Want China Holdings Ltd chairman Tsai Eng-meng, who has close ties with China.

In an about-face in late March, Next's Lai said he would never sell his print empire in Taiwan, closing the door on the $600 million deal.

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