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Final decision yet to be made on purchase of Next Media: FPG

TAIPEI--The Formosa Plastics Group has denied that its chairman, William Wong, and vice chairwoman, Susan Wang, have decided to join a consortium that is buying the Taiwan media outlets of Hong Kong-listed Next Media Ltd.

The Taiwanese conglomerate issued a statement yesterday rebutting a report by the Chinese-language United Daily News that Wong, with the support of the vice chairwoman, has decided to acquire the Next Mediaunits with other partners.

The statement said the investment plan has been under evaluation since surfacing Monday but no final decision has been made, adding that if a decision is reached, it will be made public.

The newspaper report cited sources close to Wong as saying that the Formosa Plastic Group's four major subsidiaries — Formosa Plastics Corp., Nan Ya Plastics Corp., Formosa Chemical and Fiber Corp. and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. — will jointly fund the acquisition.

One of the reasons William Wong has decided to be a part of the Next Media buyout syndicate, led by Chinatrust Charity Foundation Chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr., is that he trusts the Chinatrust Group's business capabilities, the report said.

The Formosa Plastics Group, however, will not get involved in actual media operations, the report added.

The group confirmed Tuesday that Koo Jr., the eldest son of Chinatrust founder and Chairman Jeffrey Koo, has invited Wong and a Singapore-based equity fund to jointly buy Next Media's Apple Daily, Next Magazine, Next TV and Sharp Daily for NT$17.5 billion (US$598 million).

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