Black entrepreneurs indicated yesterday, Monday, 20 July 2009, that they would snap up the local assets of Independent News and Media should they become available on the market.
Independent Newspapers SA CE Tony Howard insisted the assets, which include The Star
, the Cape Argus
, The Mercury
and the Sunday Independent
, were not for sale.
A source at Independent Newspapers reiterated Howard's comments earlier to the Mail & Guardian
that “none of the South African assets were for sale now” and that the company “was trading well”. The company is, however, looking for buyers for its advertising company INM Outdoor, Howard said.
Various prominent black businessmen told Business Day
yesterday they were very interested in SA's biggest newspaper publisher for various reasons and would definitely make offers should the assets become available.
Black Management Forum leader Jimmy Manyi said: “There are many black investors who will be interested in buying the Independent's local assets. There is no shortage of black investors out there.”
Manyi said they would be “bought tomorrow in a flash” by a black investor. However, he was reluctant to say who, at this stage, as the deal “would require some negotiating”.O'Reilly's ownership takes “heavy toll”
Businessman Moeletsi Mbeki, chairman of publishing company KMM Review Publishing, who has been touted by the Mail & Guardian
as a likely buyer, said he would definitely be interested, but denied rumours that he had met with Caxton to discuss such a purchase.
“I have a small media company, so I would not be a big shareholder, but I would definitely be interested in a share of the assets,” he said.
“I was the person who was assigned by the ANC (African National Congress) in 1994 to negotiate with Tony O'Reilly for purchase of the group. We agreed to a number of conditions that O'Reilly never honoured and which led to the unintended domination by a foreign company of English print in this country.
“As I was party to the foreign buyout of a local company, I would love to be part of the buy back of these important assets,” he said.
Wits journalism professor Anton Harber said he would welcome ownership back into SA. O'Reilly's ownership had taken a “heavy toll” on the group, he said. “The group had literally cut operating costs through the bone. It has severely damaged the newspaper industry.”
Source: Business DayPublished courtesy of