Wednesday 25 April 2018

INM looks to sale of Africa titles

THE appointment by Independent News & Media (INM) of financial advisers to explore strategic options for its South African operation looks likely to result in a sale.

The decision to put on the block some of the continent's leading titles including the Cape Times in Cape Town, The Star in Johannesburg and The Pretoria News cannot have been easy. South Africa is a good business -- but, on balance, it is the right decision if a price of €250m can be achieved.

This will go a long way towards stabilising the reminder of the group ahead of any debt refinancing talks. It will also help convince investors that future growth is ahead.

Playing off potential bidders for the division, reputed to include Shanduka, run by Cyril Ramaphosa, and Sekunjalo Holdings, led by Dr Iqbal Surve, will be essential.

The decision on Friday last by INM director Paul Connolly to settle proceedings against the company in relation to former chief executive Gavin O'Reilly's payoff shows too the company's renewed focus.

Whatever its merits, the case was a distraction from much bigger corporate challenges facing the group, including filling the vacant position of chairperson.

Boardroom peace will make taking up such a role more attractive.

Sunday Indo Business

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