The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd (NSTP) and Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd may be on the verge of a merger to create the country’s largest media group.

Sources said the proposals, which were first initiated about six months ago, had been set into motion and it was learnt that Utusan’s board will meet today to discuss the matter.

Under the proposed merger, NSTP and Utusan will be de-listed and their current shareholders will be offered new shares in a new entity, based on the companies’ book value.

It is learnt that due to the higher value of NSTP’s net tangible assets (NTA), its shareholders may also benefit from a cash payout from the new company.

This will pave the way for Media Prima Bhd, which holds 32.94% of NSTP, and Umno, which owns 50.46% of Utusan, to jointly control the new entity.