NJ puts brakes on Chinese takeover of music college
TRENTON — The sale of music college in the state to a Chinese company has been delayed after the state said it needs more information before it recommends that a court accept or reject the deal.
Rider University last year announced an agreement to sell Westminster Choir College to subsidiaries of Beijing-based Kaiwen Education for $40 million.
Two lawsuits oppose the sale. One alleges it violates a 1990s merger between the two schools and could lead to the music school's closing.
The state Attorney General's Office said in a report Wednesday that Rider hasn't fully answered questions including the reasons for the sale, what it will do with the proceeds and whether a foreign conglomerate is an appropriate buyer.
A Rider spokeswoman says the school is reviewing the report and will respond to the issues it raises.
Earlier this month, Republican lawmakers called on the Legislature to oppose the sale, saying that the "communist Chinese government owned company" could pose a danger to national security.
"With the multitude of world-class scientists, researchers, and institutions located in Princeton, it appears that the Chinese government may be using the guise of academia to infiltrate the choir college for nefarious purposes, including the collection of U.S. intelligence and intellectual property theft," Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space said in a joint statement this month.
Rider spokeswoman Kristine Brown said the school is satisfied that the "best partner to achieve the stated goals of preserving and enhancing the Westminster brand, mission and history" has been selected and work continues to complete the transaction.