A firm owned by former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi has acquired Gupta-owned media groups, ANN7 and The New Age.
The Guptas’ holding company, Oakbay Investments sent out a statement on Monday announcing that Manyi’s Lodidox has bought ANN7 (Infinity Media) and The New Age (TNA Media) for R450 million.
The agreement is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, pending any regulatory objections.
According to Oakbay, the deal is an attempt to save over 7,500 jobs, and to save the inherent value of the businesses. The Gupta-owned companies have faced a financial crisis in the wake of local and international banks blacklisting the family over their involvement in state capture.
The latest bank, the Bank of Baroda, is currently in discussions with the family, following the Guptas’ threat to take legal action against it for closing their accounts.
The closing of Gupta accounts by the Bank of Baroda has been pushed back to September as a result.
In the statement, Manyi said he was “delighted” about the deal, saying that the media businesses are strong and full of potential.
Manyi, a former spin doctor for the government, is a strong Gupta supporter, and has been accused of being financed by the family. He has also been implicated in the recent spate of leaked emails (the “Gupta leaks”), having applied to work for the family.
The New Age and ANN7 are often criticised for being pro-state, and publishing ‘hit-pieces’ against opponents of president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.