See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China: Southern Media Group bid on Newsweek rejected

Following the recent news of a the failed bid led by Southern Media Group to purchase the American magazine Newsweek, the Hefei Evening News in Anhui province seems to be the only media outlet so far that has been able to get a quote from a top editor at Southern.

After contacting executive editor in chief of Southern Weekly Xiang Xi, Hefei Evening News was actually able to get answers to a number of questions which were then syndicated by most mainstream online media in China as well as posted to a number of forums.

One possible question for discussion: with several flagship commercial newspapers considered by many to be among the best in China in Southern Media Group's portfolio, and considering its role in leading the attempted buyout, should the move be considered part of China's official ‘soft power’ push?

  记者:近日网络上有关于成都博瑞、南方集团等中国机构赴美收购《新闻周刊》(《Newsweek》)受挫的消息,并说你在操盘此项目,请问这些是不是事实?

  向熹:我今天也看到了网络上的消息,是事实。这些信息是公开信息,境外媒体前几天已经有报道了。

[Hefei Evening News] Reporter: There has been news online recently that Chengdu B-Ray Media and Southern Media Group, among other Chinese media organizations, faced setbacks after a move to purchase Newsweek magazine, as well as word that you were leading this project, are you able to verify either of these?

Xiang Xi: I saw the news online today too, actually, and it's true. This information is all public, foreign media have been reporting it over the past few days.

  记者:你能谈谈此次收购的细节吗?

  向熹:我们各方及中介机构对此项目都有保密义务,我无权公开过程的细节,更无权公开收购文件中的细节。

Reporter: Can you discuss the details of the purchase?

Xiang Xi: All parties involved including intermediaries all have an obligation to maintain confidentiality, I'm not authorized to discuss the details openly, and I especially have no authority to make public the details of the offer.

  记者:博瑞、南方为何会联手赴美收购《新闻周刊》(《Newsweek》)?

  向熹:就我的理解,我认为此次收购是有理想的中国传媒人、有理想的中国传媒机构的一次自发的举动。我了解,拥有全球传播的平台,是大家一直以来的追求。

Reporter: Why did B-Ray and Southern join forces in an attempt to move into the American market via the purchase of Newsweek?

Xiang Xi: As far as I understand, the purchase offer was a spontaneous move by idealistic Chinese traditional media people and institutions. By my reckoning, having a global communications platform is something that everyone has always been striving for.

  记者:赴美收购的财团还有其他成员,你能不能介绍一下?

  向熹:这是一些战略性股东,如果竞拍进入第二轮,他们自然会浮出水面,但现在没能入围第二轮,按协议,他们不需披露。我只能说这是认同中国传媒人、传媒机构走向世界平台愿望的机构,是纯粹的财务投资者。

Reporter: There were other members of the financial group in this move into the American market, can you introduce them?

Xiang Xi: Just some strategic shareholders; if the auction had entered a second round, naturally they would have emerged. As we haven't yet made the second round, in accordance with the agreement their identities don't need to be disclosed. All I can say is that they are groups who recognize the desire of Chinese traditional media workers and institutions to move out into the world, that they're purely financial investors.

  记者:网上消息说美方拒绝中国财团的理由不是价格原因,到底是什么原因呢?

  向熹:没有明确的原因,按规则卖方有权决定哪些买家可以进入第二轮,无需解释理由,不是价格原因,是境外媒体根据情势的判断。我个人觉得原因较复杂,但有一点,卖方不真正了解中国有理想的媒体人、媒体机构的愿望。

Reporter: Information online suggests that the reason the American side rejected the Chinese investor group wasn't related to the amount offered, so just exactly what was the reason?

Xiang Xi: There was no clear-cut reason, the rules stipulate that the seller has the power to decide which buyers can enter the second round; foreign media made a judgment based on the situation, no reasons were needed. Personally, I feel the reason is quite complex, but there is one point that can be made, the seller genuinely does not comprehend the desires of idealistic Chinese media workers and institutions.


Front page of Southern Weekly newspaper November 19, 2009 edition, via treasuresthouhast's Flickr account.

  记者:下一步有何打算?

  向熹:就这个收购项目而言,我们还将密切关注进展和结果。

  更重要的是,经过这个项目,有共同理想的机构得以觉醒,即使收购《新闻周刊》(《Newsweek》)项目失败,也将继续物色投资对象。有国际影响的传媒机构(包括港澳媒体),不论媒介形态,凡有引入中国大陆股东意愿的皆可与我们联系,我公布一个邮箱:xiangxi100[->]hotmail.com。

Reporter: What's the next move?

Xiang Xi: Speaking for this purchase, we will be watching the results closely. More importantly, this project comes as a wake-up call for Chinese media with shared ideals; even though the purchase of Newsweek failed, the search for investments will continue. Any media of global influence (Hong Kong and Macau media included), regardless of medium, who have an interest to attract mainland Chinese shareholders, can get in touch with us, I'll even put out my e-mail address: xiangxi100[->]hotmail.com

Comments on the interview left on the Sina.com piece linked to above include:

中国有理想的媒体人、媒体机构…除了南方报系,别的中国媒体人脸皮再厚怕是也不好意思说出来,

China has idealistic media workers and institutions…but aside from Southern Group, no other Chinese media workers are bald-faced enough to say as much out loud.

不是说这些境外媒体都是惯于反华,喜欢撒谎么?买它做甚,用来说瞎话?

Aren't these foreign media said to be all anti-China, habitual liars? Why on earth would you buy it, to tell lies yourself?

看来金钱和威权是无法屈服那些敢说真话的媒体!

Appears money and authority aren't enough to make those media who dare speak the truth submit!

老美怎么可能让你进入

The Americans would never let you in

还是和银联一样,中国的新闻集团都不能让外国进入,外国当然也不让中国进去了。

It's the same with China UnionPay [link]; Chinese media groups can't let foreigners in, so of course foreigners won't let the Chinese in.

还是不要吧………..要是成功了这个世界上又少了一家有良知的媒体了哈…………..

Why bother, I say….if you'd succeeded, the world would be out yet another media with conscience heh……..

The sole comment on a NetEase Media page carrying the interview:

想把搞舆论自由的周刊收购过来搞舆论导向?笑了

You want to buy up a free speech-practicing weekly and get it into guidance of public opinion? What a laugh.

Many more interesting comments on the Xiang Xi interview can be found at Tianya and HoopChina.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site