Times Media, BDFM in takeover talks

The Times Media Group (TMG) is in talks about the takeover of BDFM, which publishes Business Day, Financial Mail and is the parent company of Summit TV, it was reported on Monday.

Business Day reported that TMG had made a move to buy out the 50 percent stake which United Kingdom-based Pearson owns in BDFM.

“There have been attempts to buy out Pearson almost from the day it was born in 1997,” said BDFM publisher and Editor-in-Chief Peter Bruce.

“Most of the local shareholders have singularly failed to understand why Pearson was in BDFM in the first place.”

The newspaper reported that should the deal be approved, Business Day, the Financial Mail and the African Broadcasting Channel would be 100 percent under the control of TMG.

It was expected that BDFM would continue to have a content syndication agreement with the Financial Times, and journalists from BDFM could be deployed to the Financial Times for training.

Last month, TMG said in its results for the year that BDFM had continued to struggle, with Business Day having recently lost a large source of revenue as a result of changes to JSE rules governing financial notices.

Other sales and financials

In March, Times Media Group said it had begun the sale process for two brands within its books division – Van Schaik and Exclusive Books.

In February, the online retail division of Exclusive Books, Exclus1ves, said it was shutting down several channels, namely film, music and games to focus on its core strength, books.

The group reported that it had already begun the sales process for the various companies in its book division (Exclusive Books, Van Schaik Bookstore and Random House Struik) and the Entertainment division (including Nu Metro Cinemas).

It said that an analysis of the Nu Metro group and its individual cinemas indicated that certain leases required renegotiation, as they represent the greatest liability and cost to the business.

For the period six months ended December 2012, TMG said that segmental profit from operations before exceptional items for its books division improved to R36 million, from R13 million before.

Overall revenue moved marginally higher to R3.154 billion for the period, from R3.052 billion in 2011. However, Profit from operations declined to R77 million from R191 million, TMG reported.

(With Sapa)

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Times Media, BDFM in takeover talks