Alibaba to Buy South China Morning Post

Alibaba Group Holding said Friday that it signed a definitive agreement to buy Hong Kong's biggest local English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, and other media assets, giving the Chinese Internet giant a big voice in Hong Kong's media market. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Alibaba's purchase would mark a push by the Internet company to deepen its reach into the media world beyond its current interest in film assets and domestic Chinese media. Alibaba has feuded with the South China Morning Post in the past, most notably over an interview in which Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma made controversial comments about the Tiananmen Square uprising. Mr. Ma joins founder Jeff Bezos as an Internet entrepreneur who embraced traditional news media. Mr. Bezos acquired the Washington Post in 2013. The South China Morning Post is profitable, taking in pages of ads from Hong Kong's luxury-goods sellers and real-estate developers. SCMP Group's annual revenue topped one billion Hong Kong dollars (US$129 million) for three straight years through 2014, with adjusted operating profit of HK$167.7 million last year, according to company filings. A deal would feed into Alibaba's overall global growth strategy. Hong Kong, a former British colony, is a special administrative region of China that operates with a different political and legal system than other parts of China. The Hong Kong newspaper is also well known in Southeast Asia, where the firm is trying to grow. Write to Wei Gu at and Rick Carew at