Irish newspaper group to sell S.African titles
Irish publishing group Independent News and Media (INM) will sell its South African operation to a local empowerment firm Sekunjalo in a deal said to be worth $227.27 million, according to a statement seen on Monday.
INM said it has “agreed detailed heads of terms with Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium for the sale of INM South Africa for a consideration of two billion rand”.
Plans by INM to sell its South African business first surfaced in July 2012, when the company appointed an investment company to advice on the sale.
Independent Newspapers is South Africa’s largest English newspaper company, with more than 30 daily and weekly titles.
Several companies had made bids for the local operation of the debit-hit INM, which has been the most profitable unit in the group controlled by Denis O’Brien.
Ten year ago the company added Zulu newspapers to its titles, capitalising on the untapped indigenous market.
Sekunjalo Holdings chief executive, Iqbal Surve, told Business Day that the group would consider expansion plans into Mozambique, Angola and other southern African countries, once the deal was finalised.
“I also see a lot of opportunity on the African east coast, particularly Kenya,” he said.
The deal is subject to approval by INM shareholders and the South African competition authorities.