Sekunjalo finalises Independent Media purchase

Prominent South African media firm Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium (SIM) has concluded its purchase of Cape Town-based Independent News & Media SA (INMSA).

SIM says newly appointed chairman Iqbal Surve is delighted with the deal, which was concluded last week. "He said having the business back in South African hands was good for the country, with its strong stable of titles able to play an important role in positively engaging with the people of South Africa, with the aim of enhancing the country both culturally and economically."

Surve said he is looking forward to working with the staff of the company, both as employees and as future shareholders in the soon-to-be-established staff shareholder trust.

Ireland-based parent company Independent News & Media (INM) confirmed on June 17 that its shareholders had voted in favour of selling the media group to the Sekunjalo Group.

The two INMSA shareholders are SIM (75%) and the Government Employees' Pension Fund acting through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) with 25%.

Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, Cosatu investment company Kopano Ke Matlaka, SACTWU Investments Group, the Food and Allied Workers Union and employees through a special purpose vehicle will hold 63% of SIM's shares. A number of "broad-based, value-adding partners" will hold the other 37%.

INM chief executive Vincent Crowley said on Wednesday that he was pleased the sale had been successfully completed. He is confident the South African business will prosper in Sekunjalo and Surve's hands.

"Based on our assessment, we are confident that the investment in Independent News & Media SA will yield the required returns and contribute positively to the South African media landscape," said PIC chief investment officer Daniel Matjila.

INMSA chief executive Tony Howard has said he is excited about the deal and looking forward to working with the new owners.

INMSA owns the Cape Times, the Cape Argus, the Weekend Argus, the Daily Voice, The Star, Pretoria News, Saturday Star, Sunday Independent, Diamond Fields Advertiser, Weekend Pretoria News, Daily News, The Mercury, Post, Independent on Saturday, the Sunday Tribune, and Zulu daily newspaper Isolezwe and its Saturday and Sunday editions.

The company owns a number of weekly community newspapers in the Western Cape and has investments in the community newspaper markets in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

INMSA owns and runs Independent Online and publishes three Conde Nast international magazine brands: House & Garden, GQ and Glamour. – Sapa

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