Johannesburg - Independent News & Media (INM), the Irish
media group which owns the Cape Times, Pretoria News and The Star has confirmed
that it appointed advisors to investigate the sale of the South African
business (INMSA), according to Business Report.
The proceeds of the sale would be used towards paying off
INM's debt burden.
A media analyst reportedly told Business Report that other
options included a rights issue and a debt-for-equity swap, but controlling
shareholder Dennis O'Brien was not likely to accept those options as they would
dilute his 29.9% stake in the company.
O'Brien has reportedly indicated that he is keen on selling
the South Business.
An IMN spokesperson said yesterday: “Certainly no decision
has been taken regarding this investment… the company is assessing all its
“My understanding is that Hawpoint has been conducting a
review for some months now but to my knowledge there is no formal process and
no board decision has been taken.”
News that the country’s largest newspaper group might be up
for sale ignited a flurry of speculation about politically connected buyers
lining up to bid for the group.
Cyril Ramaphosa's Shanduka Group and Iqbal Survé's Sekunjalo
Investments were named by the Financial Times as likely buyers of the titles,
although there had been several expressions of interest.
Survé said on Wednesday it was "not the policy of
myself, or Sekunjalo group, or its holding company to comment on any
Shanduka group CEO Phuti Mahanyele denied they were
investing in Independent News and Media's South African assets.
"We are not looking at an acquisition of Independent
News and Media," Business Day quoted her saying.
Tony Howard, CEO of INM SA, was not available to comment.