Peter W.H. Tan, Chief Executive Officer of SearchMedia, remarked, “We are thrilled to have Stephen Zhu join as Chief Operating Officer of our China operations. I have known Stephen for over five years and have previously invested in some of his proprietary concessions. Stephen has a great reputation in the China out-of-home advertising industry and he will be an important catalyst in the sales effort with our recently announced major concessions with Home Inns & Hotel Management Inc. and our Luxury Mall LCD Joint Venture. Furthermore, his strong government relations and managerial and business development experience will enhance our growth objectives and help us execute our new strategic initiatives. Stephen will be joined by one of the most talented sales and media development teams in Shanghai.
On the decision to divest Qingdao, Tan added, “It is never an easy decision to dispose of an operating subsidiary that has been with the Group from the outset, but we feel that given the significant and persistent declining sales and profitability trend of Qingdao over the last four years, in order to preserve shareholder value and allow the Company to pursue additional accretive concessions, it is in the best interests of the Group to enter into a separation agreement with Qingdao. It is, of course, beneficial as a whole to be able to eliminate from our balance sheet outstanding earnout and tax liabilities in the aggregate amount of $6.8 million. Qingdao represented only 5% of our Group revenue in 2011 and we believe that this divestiture will have a minimal impact on our future financial performance.”
Peter Chan, Interim Chief Financial Officer of SearchMedia, added, “After a thorough analysis, we have concluded that it is in the Company’s best interest to divest Qingdao back to its ex-owners in exchange for the cancellation of the $4.1 million cash earnout due and elimination of $2.7 million tax liabilities and $1.9 million inter-company liabilities. With the Qingdao divestment, we expect a non-cash disposal loss of $3.2 million against our year-to-date June 30, 2012 net income of $9.8 million. We believe the Qingdao divestment will result in a large cash savings and the elimination of certain liabilities would improve the Company liquidity and bolster its balance sheet allowing it to pursue other concessions with better returns.”