AsiaOne-Fantastic JV comes to an end

FantasticOne (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd, a joint venture between locally-listed SPH AsiaOne Ltd and Fantastic Corporation, has ceased operations.

SINGAPORE--FantasticOne (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd, a joint venture between locally-listed SPH AsiaOne Ltd and Fantastic Corporation, has ceased operations.

AsiaOne chief executive Low Huan Ping said the company had invested approximately S$3.6 million (in FantasticOne) and managed to salvage "slightly over S$1 million" with the closure.

The joint venture's 20 employees have been retrenched, Low disclosed.

FantasticOne was established in April 2000 to develop and market broadband content for the mass market. Switzerland-based Fantastic Corp owned 60 percent of the joint venture while AsiaOne held the remainder.

AsiaOne rose S$0.005 to S$0.195 on today's news. ABN Amro analyst Steven Wong told Dow Jones that he does not expect the closure to have significant impact on AsiaOne's parent, Singapore Press Holdings, as "no one really pays attention to AsiaOne anymore".

This is the second deal AsiaOne has scrapped in 16 months.

In February 2000, AsiaOne and Australia-based Reckon Ltd announced a 50-50 joint venture called AsiaOne Reckon, which was aimed at penetrating Singapore's online financial sector.

AsiaOne Reckon portal was scheduled to go live in April 2000. However, it laid off staff last June even before the company was officially formed. Subsequently, in the following month, AsiaOne and Reckon announced that the two parties would not proceed with the joint venture.

AsiaOne's other Internet ventures include a 20 percent stake in Asian Bourses Corporation, a company that builds infrastructure for financial portals.

Asian Bourses developed AsiaOneMarkets, a financial portal operated by AsiaOne and Business Times.

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