The Government Employees’ Pension Fund is to acquire a 25 percent stake, worth about R500 million, in Independent News and Media SA, Business Day reported on Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, the fund already owns a 19.5 percent stake in the Times Media Group, which publishes Business Day and other major titles in competition with the Independent’s titles, which include The Star and The Cape Times.
Independent was recently purchased by the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium, which was set up by Dr Iqbal Surve to bring Independent News and Media SA “back home”, after it was bought from Anglo American by the Irish holding company, Independent News and Media in 1994.
Business Day reported that the state already owned 100 percent of the public broadcaster, the SABC, and had been perceived to be keeping The New Age afloat through lucrative advertising deals.
Pension fund spokesman Khanya Buthelezi told the newspaper the purchase of the stake in Independent News and Media SA was in line with its government mandate.
“In terms of our development investment policy, to which we have allocated 50 percent [about R60 billion] of total assets under management, we seek to invest in commercially viable projects that deliver both financial and social returns,” he was quoted as saying.
“In addition, we seek to promote black economic empowerment to increase economic participation by the majority in the mainstream economy.”