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Jimmy Lai’s Next Digital Soars 344% After Arrest, Police Raid

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 8/10/2020 Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) -- Social media posts urged investors to buy shares of Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai’s company, following his arrest and police raid of his flagship newspaper.

After falling as much as 17% in morning trade to hit a fresh record low, shares of Next Digital Ltd. soared 344% to HK$0.40 in the afternoon, reaching the highest since June 2019. Lai is chairman and his Apple Daily newspaper is Next Digital’s highest-profile business.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Next Digital shares soar after internet campaign to support company © Bloomberg Next Digital shares soar after internet campaign to support company

While it wasn’t entirely clear what drove the surge, a Facebook post by a self-described financial writer that includes a screenshot showing a purchase record of 1.22 million Next Digital shares has more than 5,000 likes and 300 shares. People in the comment section shared the screenshot to show support for the company. A post on LIHKG, where Hong Kong protesters last year coordinated activity, shared the Facebook item while some top pages on the forum included posts calling for people to buy Next Digital’s stock or not sell.

“Definitely it’s not institutional investors buying the stock,” said Steven Leung, a UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong) Ltd. executive director. “I see many orders were placed via Futunn, a large portal for retail stock investors. Many could be speculating that the company will be sold,” but Leung expressed doubt about that. “I don’t understand why there are so many speculative trades.”

Other local Hong Kong media stocks also rose sharply Monday afternoon. They included One Media Group Ltd. After not trading Monday morning, its shares jumped as much as 48% to HK$0.24. One Media is a direct translation of Next Digital’s name in Chinese.

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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