News, Timeline: Sale of Lamigo Monkeys

With the recent announcement of the sale of Lamigo Monkeys on July 3, it would be a good idea to set up a news tracker. As always, we will do our best to keep this updated by tracking all the essential news and rumours in the chronological order.

[Last updated: September 18, 2019]

July 3: Shin Kong Financial

Several media outlets have named Shin Kong Financial (新光金控), a long-time advertising partner of the Lamigo Monkeys as the potential buyer of the team.

A little background on the Shin Kong Group (新光集團), it is a multi-billion conglomerate operating in finance, insurance, technology, manufacture, retail, energy and the medical sectors in Taiwan.

Notes: The Shin Kong Group has been one of the Monkeys’ sponsors in the past three seasons. The advertising cost is said to be around $670,000 USD per year.

July 3: Kindom Construction

Rumours that Kindom Construction (冠德建設) could be interested in buying the team. Kindom Construction is also another major sponsor for the Lamigo Monkeys.

Apart from property development, the Kindom Group also operate the Global Mall, a well known chained shopping mall across seven locations in Taiwan. According to the news reports from 2016, their annual turnover is more than 320 million USD.

July 4: Terry Gou, Founder of Foxconn

The founder of Foxconn, Terry Gou (郭台銘) told the media he and his team are in talks with the Monkeys. Gou did not mention the identity of the buyer. Gou is set to attend the Monkeys’ home game on July 6 and meet with the Monkeys’ front office.

Notes: It is worth noting that Terry Gou is a candidate in the upcoming presidential primary for the KMT party. This whole thing could very well be a political stunt.

July 5: SHARP (Subsidiary of Foxconn)

Terry Gou denied he is going to buy the Monkeys. However, he told the media he would act as a middle man and introduce potential buyers to the team. There are rumours it could be the electronic brand SHARP, as it is a subsidiary of the Foxconn Group.

Notes: Foxconn Group acquired SHARP for $3.5 billion USD back in 2016. Since the takeover, SHARP has been one of the sponsors to the Fubon Guardians in the CPBL.

July 10: Terry Gou Claims Political Interference

Terry Gou claimed the buyer he introduced to Lamigo was supposed to buy the team for 19 million USD. However, nothing materialised due to political pressure from Taiwan’s President and the Mayor of Taoyuan City.

July 10: Lamigo Call out on Terry Gou’s Lies

Shortly after Terry Gou slammed the Democratic Progressive Party for interfering with the purchase, the Lamigo Monkeys released a public statement and called out Terry Gou on his lies.

The Lamigo Monkeys mentioned in their public statement that the Monkeys’ front office met up with the general manager of Foxconn Technology Group. However, both parties did not discuss anything regarding the sale of the team nor the prices. It was merely a meet and greet.

Notes: Since the Monkeys’ public rebuttal, Terry Gou has been quiet about the whole buying the Lamigo Monkeys. Just like many speculated, the entire thing was a political stunt.

August 21: Hotai Motor (Toyota Motor)

Around mid-August, rumours began to circulate online that Taiwan’s Hotai Motor (和泰汽車) could be a potential buyer.

Hotai Motor is the largest automobile company in Taiwan that engaged in the manufacturing, distribution, leasing and selling of automobiles with annual revenue of $6.1 billion USD in 2018.

Apart from automobile, the Hotai Group is also active in the insurance industry since the group took over Zurich Insurance Taiwan in 2017.

There are some strong connections between the Hotai Motor and Toyota Motor. Since 1948, Hotai has the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Toyota vehicles in Taiwan.

Company structure wise, Toyota owns a roughly 10% stake in Hotai Motor. In 2018, Hotai Motor acquired roughly 35 million USD worth of Toyota Motor’s shares.

Notes: The owner of the Hotai Group also founded the Wei Chuan Food Corporation in 1957. Yes, it’s the same Wei Chuan Food behind the Wei Chuan Dragons. He sold Wei Chuan Food to the Ting Hsin Group in 1998.

September 5: Rakuten, IBF Financial

Several media named Japan’s Rakuten Inc as a potential buyer of the Lamigo Monkeys. On July 30, Rakuten Inc and its Taiwanese partners were granted the banking license to operate in Taiwan.

The new Taiwanese-Japanese venture will be known as Rakuten International Commercial Bank with the capital of $321 million USD. Rakuten will hold a 51% stake in the company, while IBF is at 49%.

September 18: Monkeys Confirmed Rakuten as the Buyer

On September 18, the general manager of the Lamigo Monkeys confirmed Japan’s Rakuten is the buyer. The Monkeys will hold a press conference along with the Rakuten representatives on September 19.

Based on early speculation, the deal is rumoured to be worth at least 10.2 million USD. It is likely to be a joint-venture between Rakuten and Lamigo Monkeys rather than a full takeover.

According to ETtoday, the deal is worth between $17 million to $22.6 million USD. Other news outlet reported that Rakuten originally offered $16.1 million USD, but the Monkeys turned down the offer.

Pure Speculation: SoftBank Group

On October 10, 2018, there were rumours that Japan’s SoftBank Group and two unnamed Taiwanese groups will partner up and purchase the operational rights of the Taipei Dome. The deal is said to be worth at least $1.12 billion USD for 60% in shares.

While there is no official confirmation on this, it is hard not to think of them as a potential buyer for the Lamigo Monkeys.


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