SINGAPORE: The acquisition of technology media company Tech in Asia (TIA) by SPH Media has been successfully finalized, as confirmed by Willis Wee, CEO, and founder of TIA, in a Wednesday (3 Jan) announcement on the company’s website.
Expressing his satisfaction, Mr Wee conveyed the official completion of the deal.
He expressed confidence that the collaboration with The Business Times (BT) will propel TIA towards its goal of cultivating a thriving tech community.
TIA is a technology media company dedicated to fostering and nurturing Asia’s tech and startup community, and SMT planned to finance this acquisition using its existing resources.
Mr Wee emphasized that this partnership signifies a renewed focus for TIA, outlining specific areas of concentration.
“This year, we’ll expand our conferences into a few more markets based on positive signals from customers, readers, and our internal data,” Mr Wee stated.
Furthermore, investments are planned for enhancing user experience and technology to elevate engagement and overall experience.
“We will have some wins and failures. Either way, we will learn from these experiences, guiding us to do better in the future,” he said.
Additionally, Mr Wee highlighted the commitment to leveraging data and fundamental principles in decision-making processes across all departments at TIA, empowering teams to make informed investment and operational choices.
MCI Minister: SMT’s acquisition of Tech in Asia aligned with intent of government funding
In November 2023, Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, affirmed that earlier in 2023, the Singapore Media Trust (SMT) had informed the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) of its intention to acquire TIA.
While the specific cost of acquiring Tech in Asia remains undisclosed due to commercial considerations, Minister Teo asserted that the takeover by SMT aligns with the entity’s overarching mission, which includes its transformation.
“As a commercial entity, SMT will have to undertake independent and sound decisions to carry out its mission, including how best to bring about its transformation,” said Minister Teo in a written answer to a Parliamentary question filed by Mr Louis Chua, Workers’ Party Member of Parliament for Sengkang GRC.
She emphasized the government’s non-involvement in such commercial decisions, acknowledging that the acquisition “supports SMT’s transformation and is aligned with the intent of Government funding.”
“We also note that SMT and TIA will not be disclosing the financial terms of this transaction, in view of market sensitivities.”
Mr Chua’s queries included whether the Government imposes any restrictions on utilising the S$180 million annual funding allocated to SPH Media Trust (SMT), particularly concerning transactions involving Mergers and Acquisitions.
Mr Chua also inquired about the measures to mitigate agglomeration risks within the local media industry.
In response, Minister Teo said funding for SPH Media Trust (SMT) is earmarked for three key focus areas – namely, Technology Development, Talent Development, and the Preservation of Vernacular Media.
“To ensure prudent use of public funds, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has been closely monitoring SMT’s performance and its utilisation of funding in support of these areas.”
While Mr Chua raised concern over agglomeration risks in the local media industry, Minister Teo dismissed the notion, claiming that people “should take a broader and more updated view of the media landscape.”
In 2021, Singapore Media Trust (SMT) underwent a restructuring process, transitioning from Singapore Press Holdings to establish itself as a not-for-profit entity.
Subsequently, it was slated to receive S$900 million in public funds spread over five years. The announcement regarding this funding was made in February 2022.
On the other hand, TIA, established in 2010, is recognized as one of the pioneers of business tech media in the region, with a digital news publication focusing on startup and venture capital news for a primarily Southeast Asian, Indian, and North American user base.
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