Taiwan media deal sparks protest over pro-China buyer

The expected sale by Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai of his Taiwan holdings to a group that includes an outspokenly pro-China businessman has sparked protests in Taipei. Demonstrators fear the deal will greatly expand Chinese influence on the democratic island.

Lai spokesman Mark Simon said he expected the Taiwan dollars 17.5 billion ($601 million) deal to be signed late Tuesday in Macau.

It involves the sale of the Taiwanese editions of Apple Daily and Next magazine, as well as Next TV to businessman Tsai Eng-meng, banking scion Jeffrey Koo Jr., and Formosa Plastics Group president Wang Wen-yuan. The deal requires approval by Taiwan regulators.

About 100 protesters gathered outside the Cabinet offices to lambast Tsai, well known for his pro-China attitudes and his extensive business interests on the mainland.