When SPH announced its plan to cull staff for the next couple of years, it was a sign of times for the media giant. Faced with falling revenues and declining daily newspaper circulation, SPH is grappling with the disruptions of the media industry. Nonetheless, it is important to note that over the past decade, SPH had made numerous acquisitions of online media platforms. Thus, will SPH acquire The Finance SG?
Ten years ago, SPH set the dot-com community on fire by acquiring IT media company, Hardwarezone, for a cool $7.1 million. The online magazine has a monthly pageviews of over 35 million and is widely considered one of the top websites in Singapore (in terms of traffic). The mega deal came at a time when the online entrepreneur scene was still reeling from the aftermath of the dot-com implosion. The deal set the stage for today’s fintech evolution and let many online entrepreneurs dream again.
In 2013, SPH splashed out a whopping $60 million for SgCarMart, Singapore’s leading online classifieds website for the automotive industry. The portal has an estimated number of 30 million pageviews per month. Whether this was a panic buy is subject to debate but through this acquisition, SPH has effectively laid down the marker that future growth will be driven by online businesses.
As for the financial realm, SPH has acquired ShareInvestor, founded by the late Dr Micheal Leong. ShareInvestor is a financial portal that provides paid subscribers market data tools and investment applications. The acquisition was estimated to be $12 million and took place in 2008.
With so many online acquisitions being made for the past decade, should SPH continue to pursue this growth strategy? My view is a “yes”, because in this new digital economy, SPH cannot afford to look back. Ultimately, SPH is a content service provider and most of its previous acquisitions fall into this category – Hardwarezone, ShareInvestor, HungryGoWhere and SgCarMart. Thus, the media giant should continue along this direction and acquire more online media platforms with original content.
The current gap for SPH online acquisition strategy is the lack of major investments in blogs, especially financial ones with distinctive brands. And this is where The Finance SG comes in. In this day and age of social media, having an online influencer can really make a difference.
Since ShareInvestor is a financial portal, why would SPH acquire The Finance SG? Furthermore, Hardwarezone also contains a forum with topics on stock investments and personal finance stuff. My view is that ShareInvestor is actually a technology company with financial applications while The Finance SG is a financial content aggregator. The three businesses can actually complement each other.
Just imagine this: having a platform that provides in-depth analysis on a stock (The Finance SG), checking out the financial data in ShareInvestor and discussing your ideas with other investors in Hardwarezone. If this deal really materialized, it would be a match made in heaven because SPH could consolidate the three units to make it a powerful website for investors in Singapore.
In business, never say never. When SPH acquired Hardwarezone, nobody could believe it. But if SPH did really acquire The Finance SG, Derek would have a wind-fall. It would be exciting time for me as my blog received a large number of traffic from The Finance SG. With a multi-billion dollar war-chest, SPH definitely can afford to take the risk and invest in local investment blogs.
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SG Wealth Builder