Malaysian multinational buys Asia Inc. magazine

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HONG KONG -- Malaysian multinational DKH Holdings has acquired the business magazine Asia Inc. for $1.1 million through its subsidiary George Town Holdings (GTH).

DKH now owns 80% of a Hong Kong-incorporated company, Markus Ltd., with the existing management owning the balance, while the title's management team, which bought the magazine last year, retains a minority shareholding.

Asia Inc. has not appeared on newsstands for several months but will be relaunched under the new owner in October. "The lapse has been because, prior to signing the deal with DKH, quite frankly we didn't have the resources to put out a top-quality issue and we weren't prepared to compromise by putting out an inferior product," says Editor in Chief William Mellor. "Now [that] the deal's been done, we feel the best time to relaunch is October....[and] we're aiming to produce a big issue of superb quality," he adds.

DKH is now the first Malaysian company to own an Asian regional media title, though it already publishes a domestic business magazine called Malaysian Industry.

The company's other operations include the Swiss Bank Banque Financiere de la Cite and the Leavesden film studio outside London.

GTH Chairman Prince Abdullah ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman describes the deal as "another bold step for the group into the media sector, which together with the entertainment sector has been identified as one of the core businesses for growth of the group."

Asia Inc. will be "an invaluable acquisition for us," he adds. "It is a highly respected regional business monthly. We will maintain that tradition and do even more."

The magazine has a circulation of 60,000, made up principally of chief executives, business professionals and leaders around Asia, Europe and the U.S.

It will continue to be published in Hong Kong by its existing management team led by Publisher Anne Lim and Mr. Mellor, but it will be printed in Malaysia as of October. "DKH will provide us with the resources we need to make the magazine as successful financially as it always has been editorially," says Ms. Lim. Like other regional print titles, Asia Inc has suffered financially due to the ongoing economic crisis and the resulting decrease in ad spend.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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