Sekunjalo to acquire Independent News & Media

The Competition Commission has issued its approval of the proposed acquisition by Sekunjalo Independent Media (SIM) of Independent News & Media South Africa (INMSA).

INMSA is publisher of daily and weekly newspapers including flagship titles such as The Star, the Cape Argus, The Mercury, and the Pretoria News.

SIM is a consortium with diverse membership, including Dr. Iqbal Surve‘s Sekunjalo Group, various trade unions, women’s interest advancement groups, community upliftment organisations and others.

Along with the ownership stake to be acquired by Sekunjalo Independent Media consortium, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), acting on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund, will also acquire a direct, minority, non-controlling stake in INMSA.

The transaction was approved by the Competition Commission subject to certain conditions. These conditions are to ensure that the PIC, as an institutional investor with existing ownership interests in other print media operators, does not allow itself, through its common ownership links, to become an unwitting conduit for co-ordinated effects between the competing print media operators in the future.

The conditions require the maintenance of appropriate boundaries between internal PIC managers of each media owner investment and separate director appointments, to the extent that PIC does appoint representatives to any media owners’ board.

Dr. Surve said he was extremely delighted that this important milestone in the completion of the transaction has been reached, bringing him a significant step closer to placing this invaluable South African media asset back into the hands of South African owners, which included a broad cross section of society.

Dr. Surve went on to explain that, subsequent to the conclusion of the original sale agreement, two third party Chinese investors reached agreement with Sekunjalo Independent Media to effectively acquire a portion of Sekunjalo Independent Media’s stake in INMSA, through a special purpose vehicle, such that post merger, the Chinese investors intend to acquire a minority stake in INMSA. This transaction was also notified to the Commission and it is expected that approval, on terms very similar to those applicable to the original transaction, will be granted in the very near term.

Tony Howard, CEO of INMSA, said today that the final transfer of ownership was expected to be completed on 15 August 2013 which signalled the start of an exciting new era for the company. He said employees and management welcomed Sekunjalo as its new owner and are excited about the prospect of taking the company forward in this new environment.

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Sekunjalo to acquire Independent News & Media