KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — The Edge Media Group (TEMG) said today that it failed to get buyers to take over The Malaysian Insider (TMI), which will shut down from midnight, that cost the media outfit some RM10 million in losses.
TEMG publisher and Group CEO Ho Kay Tat said TEMG was approached by three parties, all of whom had existing media businesses, who were interested in taking over TMI, adding that there was also a management buyout (MBO) offer.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement with any of the external parties as well as for the MBO to take place.
“We believe the recent problems TMI had with The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had made it more difficult for a sale to be concluded even though discussions had started before that,” said Ho in a statement.
The government recently blocked access to TMI, with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak alleging that the news portal had caused public “confusion” with an article quoting an unnamed source from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisery panel.
Ho said 59 TMI staff in the layoff would receive a severance package, but did not specify the quantum.
According to Ho, TEMG could no longer afford to keep TMI running after the media outfit incurred losses of about RM10 million since acquiring the news portal in June 2014. TMI was set up about eight years ago in February 2008.
“The closure of TMI should serve as a reminder to those of us in the media industry as well as the public at large that good journalism cannot be sustained without commercial support. And when good journalism stops, society is the loser,” he said.