Aurora Mulia increases stake in Media Prima to 21% via direct business transaction

By MARK RAO / Pic By TMR File

AURORA Mulia Sdn Bhd has increased its stake in Media Prima Bhd to 20.56% after acquiring 50 million shares in the company.

Media Prima in a filing to Bursa Malaysia said the shares were acquired on Wednesday.

It added that the recent share acquisition was done via a direct business transaction under the rules of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd. Media Prima’s share price on Wednesday’s closing traded at 48.5 sen.

Aurora Mulia, which has Syed Danial Syed Mokhtar Shah as one of the named directors, acquired 55 million shares in the media group on July 11 this year, bringing its interest to 16.05%. Syed Danial is the son of businessman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

The company previously purchased 123.02 million shares in the company from Umno-linked Gabungan Kesturi Sdn Bhd on July 2.

Aurora Mulia now holds 228.02 million shares in Media Prima worth RM111.73 million based on the latter’s closing price of 49 sen yesterday. Aurora Mulia has paid premium for the loss-making media group by buying the shares at 60 sen. If the amount is correct, Aurora Mulia had paid almost RM137 million for the 20.56% stake, or RM25.3 million more compared to the current share value based on Wednesday’s trading price.

Syed Mokhtar is linked to a 14.76% stake in loss-making and PN17 Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd. Shares of Utusan Melayu closed at 14 sen yesterday, valuing the company, which was linked to Umno, to only RM15.5 million.

Reports have suggested a 12.8% stake in the media company via Japanese banking group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc is linked to Syed Mokhtar.

However, a source familiar with the matter denies any link or ownership between Syed Mokhtar and the stake owned by the Japanese banking group, burying the speculations that the recent acquisition would force a mandatory general offer for the rest of the shares in Media Prima.

Mitsubishi UFJ holds 142.38 million shares or a 12.84% stake in Media Prima via Morgan Stanley & Co LLC.

Other substantial shareholders in the company include Malaysia’s largest pension fund, Employees Provident Fund which holds an 11.58% stake or 128.48 million shares, according to the latest company filings.

Umna trustee, Altima Inc, is also said to hold a 7.96% shareholding in the media group. Altima is believed to be linked to Umno.

For the first quarter ended March 31 this year, Media Prima’s net loss widened 85.1% year-on-year to RM40.41 million while revenue declined 14.8% to RM239.1 million.

This was largely due to the shift of advertising spending to digital platforms and the continued decline in newspaper sales.