INM to sell firm in South Africa for €170m
Independent News & Media (INM) is set to sell its South African business to a local consortium for close to €170 million following a deal at the weekend.
The news comes as reports yesterday claimed that Bret Chenoweth, the chief executive whom INM wants to sack from the Australian publisher in which it holds a major stake, was preparing to resign.
The publisher of the Irish Independent and Evening Herald has been in talks to sell its South African operation, which includes the Star and Daily Voice, along with evening and weekend newspapers and magazines.
Heads of terms
INM confirmed yesterday that it has agreed detailed heads of terms with philanthropist Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Independent Media consortium to sell the business for two billion South African rand (€169 million).
“The disposal of the South African business will require both INM shareholder approval and competition commission approval in South Africa,” the company said.
The price is said to be around seven times the operation’s earnings, though short of the €250 million that INM had hoped to be paid for it.
The group, which is 29.9 per cent owned by media and telecoms mogul Denis O’Brien, is seeking to sell the business to pay down some of its €430 million debt.
Dr Survé’s Sekunjalo group is an investment holdings and private equity business with interests in defence, energy, minerals, oil and telecoms. He is well known in South Africa for his youth charities.
INM could learn separately this morning if Mr Chenoweth and several colleagues have decided to resign from APN, the Australian newspaper publisher in which the Irish group holds a 28.95 per cent stake.
The Irish group was seeking an egm to have him and several boardroom colleagues removed.