Johannesburg - Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium and the Board of INM have announced on Tuesday that they have entered into a binding agreement.
Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium will acquire the entire issued share capital of INM South Africa‚ for a total consideration of R2bn‚ subject to certain conditions under the terms of the Sale Agreement.
INM South Africa is the country’s largest English newspaper group‚ with 18 titles including The Star‚ Pretoria News‚ Cape Argus‚ Cape Times‚ Isolezwe and The Mercury. It also has a strong online presence.
Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium believes the acquisition of INM South Africa will:
- increase black shareholding in the media sector in South Africa with a strong emphasis on the inclusion of broad-based groupings from both urban and rural communities;
- return an important asset to South African ownership and support investment in the asset so that the media can play an important role in the economic and social development of South Africa and sub Saharan Africa;
- create further print media in indigenous languages in South Africa and on the African continent;
- expand the digital platform in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa; and
- create an African voice for the integration of the economies of sub Saharan Africa to increase trade and investment.
The transaction is subject to certain conditions‚ including INM bank consent‚ INM shareholder approval‚ South African Reserve Bank approval and Competition Commission approval in South Africa.
The acquisition will be financed through a combination of local and international funding sources.
Commenting on the acquisition‚ Dr Iqbal Survé‚ Chairperson of Sekunjalo‚ said: “We are excited to bring this asset back to our country. It is a very important part of the history of South Africa.
"The Consortium strongly supports a free and vigorous independent media that is fair and accessible to all.
"INM South Africa has a great content platform with a strong online presence‚ which we believe will play an important role in positively engaging with our country‚ our continent‚ to integrate effectively both culturally and economically.
“We expect the same growth that print media has experienced in other emerging markets to occur on the African continent‚ and in particular in vernacular titles.”
Commenting‚ on its disposal‚ Vincent Crowley‚ CEO of INM‚ said: “I am pleased to announce the agreed sale of INMSA‚ which is a key step in reducing INM Group debt and strengthening our balance sheet.
"The sale will mark the end of a long association with a company and a management team‚ ably led by Tony Howard‚ which has been mutually beneficial.
"I am very confident that‚ in Sekunjalo‚ and Dr Iqbal Survé‚ the INMSA business will be in good hands and I have no doubt that the company will prosper well in the years ahead.
Crowley said the reduction in debt which the Disposal will enable is an essential component to the delivery of an overall sustainable and appropriate capital structure for the Group.
"INM remains in constructive discussions with our banks in relation to the planned refinancing and will provide a further update in due course,” he said.
Tony Howard‚ CEO of INM South Africa‚ said the return of the business to local ownership is an important next step in the history and development of INMSA and brings into play some exciting new opportunities.
"I am excited about the deal and look forward to working together with Sekunjalo to invigorate and grow the business.“
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