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Newspaper publisher Singapore Press Holdings to transfer troubled media business into not-for-profit entity – CNBC

Logo of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Roslan Rahman | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Singapore Press Holdings, a newspaper publisher and real estate company, said Thursday it will transfer its troubled media business into a not-for-profit entity.

The company’s media business — which includes English broadsheets The Straits Times and The Business Times, as well as Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao — have struggled with falling advertising revenues in recent years.

The troubles at SPH caused its market capitalization to shrink, and the company’s shares on the Singapore Exchange were dropped from the benchmark Straits Times Index last year. The STI is made up of the 30 listed companies with the largest market capitalization.

Trading of SPH shares were halted on Thursday, pending the announcement. As of Wednesday’s close, the company’s shares have risen roughly 58% this year.

In a statement, SPH said all media-related assets will be transferred into a new wholly-owned subsidiary named SPH Media Holdings, with an initial funding that includes a cash injection of 80 million Singapore dollars ($59.81 million) and 30 million Singapore dollars worth of SPH shares.

The new subsidiary will eventually be transferred to a not-for-profit entity for “a nominal sum,” said the company.

SPH cited The Guardian in the U.K. and the Tampa Bay Times in the U.S. as examples of media businesses that employ the not-for-profit model.

In addition to media, SPH is also in the property business. It owns 66% of a real estate investment trust called SPH REIT, with properties in Singapore and Australia making up its portfolio.