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INM confirms sale of SA unit mooted

Jul 12 2012 09:14

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 options.

“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 speculation".

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.



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