SPH Moves To Nonprofit Business Model & Delists From Singapore Exchange

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced on Thursday (6 May) that they’ll switch to a nonprofit business model.

With this, the media company will no longer be public.

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According to SPH’s announcement, the move is due to a decline in print media revenue.

With a nonprofit business model, they’ll be able to seek funding from both public and private sources that will support quality journalism.

SPH media switches to nonprofit model

With the news on Thursday (6 May), the move should be completed by Oct with shareholders’ approval.

Prior to the release, SPH stopped trading its shares in the Singapore Exchange this morning, signalling its intention to delist.

The new model will allow SPH to seek funds from public and private sources, and will no longer seek profits for shareholders.

SPH will give initial resources and funding with a cash injection of $80 million, $30 million worth of SPH shares and SPH REIT units, along with SPH’s stakes in 4 digital media investments.

When the transfer to a public company limited by guarantee is complete, SPH won’t be subject to shareholders or relevant restrictions under the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA).

A public company limited by guarantee is a nonprofit with activities carried out with some basis of national or public interest.

SPH pledges to provide quality journalism

SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang said that the move will help to ensure that its media businesses continue to provide quality journalism “objectively, accurately and responsibly”.

But when asked about potential issues with maintaining editorial independence, SPH CEO Ng Yat Chung essentially said this was a non-question.

“(At) SPH, we always have advertising, but never pander to the needs of advertisers…”, TODAY reports him as saying, while he pointed at reporters from other media outlets.

He said that other media outlets receive substantial funding from various sources, but do not describe themselves as bowing to the needs of advertisers.

Financial losses led to move

It is known that SPH has struggled in recent years in maintaining a profit.

Last year, SPH reported losses of $11.4 million overall for the year ending 31 Aug 2020.

SPH Sees $83.7 Million Loss For 1st Time In 2020, Due To Covid-19 & Fall In Advertising

Only the Jobs Support Scheme prevented SPH from falling further into the red, it said.

Restructuring to fit changing times

As Singapore’s largest media company, SPH is known for its various publications such as The Straits Times, The New Paper, and Lianhe Zaobao.

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These are names that Singaporeans are intimately familiar with.

It is hoped by SPH that the move will allow them to continue providing quality journalism, even as print media declines further.

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