Buyers circle INM’s South African papers

moeletsi_mbekiBuyers are said to be "circling around" the South African newspapers owned by the financially-strapped Independent News & Media, the Dublin-based publisher of The Independent in Britain. ( Pictured: Businessman Moeletsi Mbeki )

Two publishers thought to be interested in acquiring the titles – The Star in Johannesburg, the Cape Argus and The Mercury in Durban plus the nationally-distributed Sunday Independent – are the Avusa company and the businessman Moeletsi Mbeki.

A local consortium led by Mbeki is said to have approached publishing giant Caxton to partner it in order to mount a potential bid for the papers. Avusa has apparently already approached INM directly.

A third possible bidder is the businessman Barend Hendricks, who is understood to have opened channels to INM.

But Tony Howard, chief executive of INM’s South African division, said there were no plans to sell the titles. “None of the core publications or newspaper assets is for sale,” he said.

Meanwhile, INM is facing a deadline on Friday to pay off a 200m bond. A compromise deal with bondholders previously negotiated by INM’s ceo, Gavin O’Reilly, was scuppered by opposition from the company’s second largest shareholder, Denis O’Brien.

There are rumours that O’Brien may have come round, but if there is no agreement, there have been claims that the company will apply for examinership.

Sources: Mail & Guardian/Irish Times/Sunday Business Post

The Guardian (UK)

Post published in: Economy

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