Singapore Press Holdings

Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPHL) was an organisation with businesses in property and aged care in Singapore. Since its takeover by Cuscaden Peak in 2022, it has been renamed Cuscaden Peak Investments.

Singapore Press Holdings
IndustryProperty, digital, aged care
Founded4 August 1984 (1984-08-04)
HeadquartersHarbourFront, Singapore
Key people
Christopher Lim (Chairman)
Gerald Yong (CEO)[1]
ParentCuscaden Peak

Prior to 1 December 2021, SPHL was in the media business as well with a reach in the print, digital, radio, and outdoor media. It formed part of a duopoly on the mass media of Singapore, with the other player being Mediacorp.[2] SPHL had over 4,000 employees, including a team of approximately 1,000 journalists, including correspondents operating around the world. 2,500 of the staff, including the journalists and its media business were subsequently transferred to SPH Media Trust.

The company was one of the country's "blue-chip" counters on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX) until its delisting on 13 May 2022 following its acquisition by Cuscaden Peak.[3][1] It was also a constituent of the Straits Times Index until its removal on 22 June 2020.


1984: Formation of Singapore Press Holdings

Singapore Press Holdings Limited was formed on 4 August 1984 through a merger of three organisations, The Straits Times Press Group, Singapore News and Publications Limited and Times Publishing Berhad.[4]

On 8 June 2000, SPH MediaWorks was set up with the aim of breaking into the broadcasting business,[5] and received Singapore's second nationwide free-to-air terrestrial television broadcasting service licence on 26 April 2001.[6] SPHL soon afterwards launched two channels, Channel U (Mandarin) on 6 May 2001 and TVWorks (English) on 20 May 2001.[7] On 3 March 2002, TVWorks was renamed to Channel i with a new programming belt.[8]

On 31 December 2004, SPHL sold its television operation to Mediacorp, restoring Mediacorp's former monopoly status. Channel i was shut down on 1 January 2005, but Channel U continues to operate. Through a merger, SPHL retained a 20% stake in Mediacorp's television operational, as well as 40% stake in Today newspaper.[9]

The National Library Board and SPHL signed an agreement in 2007 to make digitised articles of The Straits Times available for public access at NLB libraries. The digitised articles were made available at NewspaperSG and was launched on 28 January 2010.[10][11]

In 2009, SPHL celebrated its 25th anniversary and for the first time, changed its corporate logo. The new logo was launched on 30 March that year by former President S. R. Nathan and chairman Tony Tan Keng Yam.[12]

In 2013, SPHL acquired sgCarMart.[13]

On 29 September 2017, SPHL completed its sale of its stakes in Mediacorp's television operational, and Today. Mediacorp Press and Mediacorp TV Holdings ceased to be associated companies of SPHL.[9]

In November 2019, SPHL stopped publishing Torque, a motoring publication, and moved its operation digital while parking it under its subsidiary, sgCarMart.[14]

On 27 April 2020, SPHL divested Buzz, a modern retail convenience chain, to Thai-Pore Enterprise for an undisclosed sum. Buzz was previously a wholly owned subsidiary under SPH.[15]

On 22 June 2020, SPHL was removed from the Straits Times Index (STI), which tracks 30 of the largest companies by market capitalisation listed on the mainboard of the Singapore Exchange after a quarterly review of the constituents of the STI announced on 5 June that year. It was replaced by Mapletree Industrial Trust.[16][17]

On 13 October 2020, SPHL, which published The Straits Times and The Business Times, posted a net loss of $83.7 million for the full year. The loss was attributed to COVID-19 which affected all major business segments.[18]

On 1 February 2021, SPHL's events subsidiary Sphere Exhibits merged with Temasek's SingEx Holdings.[19]

2021: Hiving off the media business

SPHL's readership has stagnated since the early-2000s, as Singaporeans increasingly turned to online media for their news consumption.[20] On 6 May 2021, SPHL in response to shareholder pressures, had proposed that it would restructure itself and transfer its media business into a company limited by guarantee (CLG), which would be privately managed.[21][22] The new CLG will be initially managed by SPHL current management shareholders: OCBC Bank, Great Eastern, United Overseas Bank, DBS Bank, Singtel, NTUC Income, Temasek, the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University, while still having to issue new management shares of the media business under the CLG as required by Newspaper and Printing Presses Act.[23] The government would also lift the shareholder limits on the currently listed SPHL entity.[24] Khaw Boon Wan, a retired politician, who has a reputation of being a fixer,[25] was appointed as the chairman of the CLG.[26]

On 10 September 2021, an extraordinary general meeting was convened over the restructuring proposal to transfer all media business-related assets and staff to SPH Media Trust. Approximately 97.55% of the 300 shareholders present voted in favour of the proposal.[27] The transfer was completed on 1 December 2021. The assets transferred included its headquarters, the News Center, and its press, the Print Center, as well as all intellectual property and information technology assets. Along with the assets transfer, 2,500 staff were transferred to SPH Media Trust as well.[28]


On 28 February 2022, consortium led by Toyota Financial Services Singapore acquired sgCarMart for S$150 million.[13]

Following its acquisition by Cuscaden Peak, SPHL was delisted from the Singapore Exchange on 13 May 2022.[3][1]


Prior to 1 December 2021, like all newspaper companies in Singapore, SPHL was regulated by the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (NPPA) of 1974 and issues both management and ordinary shares. As specified by the NPPA, all issues and transfers of management shares have to be approved by the Ministry of Communications and Information, and in "any resolution relating to the appointment or dismissal of a director or any member of the staff" the vote of one management share is equivalent to 200 ordinary shares.[29]

There are close ties between the directors of SPHL and the Singapore Government. S. R. Nathan, Director of the Security and Intelligence Division and later President of Singapore served as SPHL's Executive chairman from 1982 to 1988 and the first President (1994–2002) of SPHL was Tjong Yik Min, former chief of the Internal Security Department. The immediate former Chairman of SPHL, Tony Tan was Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore from 1994 to 2005 and President of Singapore from 2011 to 2017.

Former cabinet minister and chairman of Keppel Corporation Dr Lee Boon Yang is the current chairman of Singapore Press Holdings. Former Chief of Defence Force and CEO of Neptune Orient Lines Limited Ng Yat Chung is the current CEO since 1 September 2017.[30]

After 1 December 2021, the regulations would have been lifted due to the completion of the transfer of its media business into SPH Media Trust.[31][28]

Owners of ordinary share

99.9% ordinary shares were held by the public.[32] According to the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act:

(3) No person shall, on or after 2nd September 2002, enter into any agreement or arrangement, whether oral or in writing and whether express or implied, to act together with any other person with respect to the acquisition, holding or disposal of, or the exercise of rights in relation to, their interests in voting shares of an aggregate of more than 5% of the total votes attached to all voting shares in a newspaper company without first obtaining the approval of the Minister.[33]

Thus, by ordinary share, there is no controlling shareholder. The current "largest" shareholders are The Vanguard Group (2.5%), Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (1.7%), Norges Bank Investment Management (1.5%), Lee Foundation (1.4%), BlackRock Fund Advisors (1.1%).[34] Other private companies and individuals owned less than 1% of the ordinary share each.[32]

Owners of management share

As of 7 October 2020[32]
NameNumber % of management shareEquivalent of ordinary share
(during special voting)
 % of total share capital
(excluding treasury shares)
Equivalent %
(during special voting)
Great Eastern Life Assurance3,698,29722.60%739,659,400
OCBC Bank2,748,82916.80%549,765,800
NTUC Income2,674,21916.35%534,843,800
DBS Bank1,554,3629.50%310,872,400
United Overseas Bank1,316,5788.05%263,315,600
National University of Singapore876,7975.36%175,359,400
Nanyang Technological University658,2604.02%131,652,000
Fullerton (Private) Limited658,2604.02%131,652,000
Directors excluding CEO360.00%7,200

The management shareholders as of September 2021 were nominally the founding members of SPH Media Trust as well.[31]



SPHL owns retail properties Paragon, The Clementi Mall and The Seletar Mall. SPH's wholly owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, has also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.


SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established to invest in a portfolio of income-producing real estate primarily for retail purposes. SPH REIT comprises three retail malls and one strip mall, The Paragon, The Clementi Mall, The Rail Mall, and Westfield Marion. Paragon is a prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping belt. The Clementi Mall is a mid-market suburban mall in the centre of Clementi town. In December 2019, SPH REIT acquired 50% ownership in Westfield Marion from Scentre Group.[35]

M1 Limited

In February 2019, it was announced that Keppel Corporation and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) had together obtained majority control of telco M1, after Axiata accepted their joint offer of $2.06 a share for a 28.6 per cent stake. Later in March 2019, the telco said that Konnectivity, a company owned jointly by the two companies, would buy all of its remaining shares.[36]


SPHL has a 26.84 per cent stake[37] in SGX listed preschool and enrichment provider MindChamps.

Orange Valley

SPHL owns Orange Valley which operates nursing homes.


SPHL owns and operates mobile application and job portal FastJobs.[38]


  1. "Singapore Press Holdings officially delisted, Gerald Yong to take over as CEO from Ng Yat Chung". The Straits Times. 14 May 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  2. "Singapore profile - Media". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 17 February 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  3. "SPH to delist from SGX on May 13 following Cuscaden takeover, scheme payment complete". The Business Times. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  4. "Formation of Singapore Press Holdings". NLB. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  5. "SPH Launches new Broadcasting and Entertainment Subsidiary". SPH. 8 June 2000. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  6. "Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) issues Broadcast Licence to SPH Mediaworks". SBA (now IMDA). 26 April 2001. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  7. "The MediaWorks Big Tune-In; Two Free TV Channels Coming Your Way". SPH MediaWorks. Archived from the original on 4 December 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  8. "i - Your choice for Movies and Action on Singapore's Terrestrial TV!". SPH MediaWorks. 25 February 2002. Archived from the original on 14 August 2002. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  9. "SPH completes sale of Mediacorp stakes". The Straits Times. 30 September 2017. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  10. Lin, Linus (29 January 2010). "17 newspapers at a click of the mouse". The Straits Times. Singapore.
  11. Ng, Jing Yng (29 January 2010). "You can now take your search online". today. Singapore.
  12. "Singapore Press Holdings launches new corporate logo to mark 25th anniversary". SPH. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  13. "Toyota-led consortium acquires sgCarMart from SPH". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  14. "SPH motoring mag Torque ceases print, merges with sgCarMart ops". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  15. "SPH to divest convenience store chain Buzz, Companies & Markets News & Top Stories - the Straits Times". 27 April 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  16. "SPH to be removed from Straits Times Index, replaced by Mapletree Industrial Trust". TODAYonline.
  17. "SPH dropping out of STI shows how yield-driven S'pore stock market is, say analysts". TODAYonline.
  18. "SPH records first net loss of S$83.7 million for FY2020 as COVID-19 'severely disrupts' all business segments". CNA. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  19. "Expo operator SingEx, SPH's Sphere Exhibits merging to form new regional Mice player". The Straits Times. February 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  20. "Why did SPH restructure? Umbrage, COVID-19 and SGAG". Singapore Samizdat. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  21. "SPH to restructure media business into not-for-profit entity amid falling revenue". CNA. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  22. "Why Singapore Press Holdings is Restructuring". Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  23. "Khaw Boon Wan to chair SPH's non-profit spin-off; ties between MCI and newsroom unchanged, says Iswaran". TODAY. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  24. Bertrand Teo (14 May 2021). "SPH Restructures Its Media Business: What Does This Mean For Shareholders And Potential Investors?". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  25. "5 reasons why Khaw Boon Wan could be on the fast track to be the next Transport Minister". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  26. "Khaw Boon Wan to serve as Chairman of the Board of SPH non-profit media entity". Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  27. "SPH shareholders vote in favour of hiving off loss-making media business". The Drum. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  28. "SPH announces completion of media restructuring". Singapore Business Review. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  29. George, Cherian (1 April 2012). Freedom from the Press: Journalism and State Power in Singapore. NUS Press. p. 31. ISBN 9789971695941.
  30. "Ng Yat Chung to be SPH CEO from Sept 1; Alan Chan to retire after 15 years". The Straits Times. 26 May 2017. Archived from the original on 26 May 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  31. Lim, Raphael (10 May 2021). "Khaw Boon Wan to be chairman of SPH Media CLG, management shareholders to be founding members". The Business Times. Retrieved 20 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. "Main Shareholders". Singapore Press Holdings. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. "Newspaper and Printing Presses Act - Singapore Statutes Online". Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  34. "Singapore Press Holdings Ltd". Nikkei Asia. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  35. "SPH REIT to Acquire a 50.0% Interest in Westfield Marion Shopping Centre, Adelaide, South Australia" (PDF). SPH REIT. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  36. "Singapore Press Holdings and Keppel Corp takes majority control of telco M1". The Drum. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
  37. "SPH raises stake in MindChamps Preschool". The Edge Singapore. 10 November 2017. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  38. Hwei, Liang (13 April 2015). "Singapore Classifieds Goes Mobile: SPH Launches FastJobs App". Vulcan Post. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
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