Govt buys stake worth R500m in newspaper group

2013-05-21 09:44

The Government Employees’ Pension Fund is to acquire a 25% stake, worth about R500 million, in Independent News and Media SA.

According to Business Day today, the fund already owns a 19.5% stake in the Times Media Group, which publishes Business Day and other major titles in competition with the Independent’s titles, which include The Star and The Cape Times.

Independent was recently purchased by the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium, which was set up by Dr Iqbal Surve to bring Independent News and Media SA “back home”, after it was bought from Anglo American by the Irish holding company, Independent News and Media in 1994.

Business Day reported the state already owned 100% of the public broadcaster, the SABC, and had been perceived to be keeping The New Age afloat through lucrative advertising deals.

Pension fund spokesman Khanya Buthelezi told the newspaper the purchase of the stake in Independent News and Media SA was in line with its government mandate.

“In terms of our development investment policy, to which we have allocated 50% [about R60 billion] of total assets under management, we seek to invest in commercially viable projects that deliver both financial and social returns,” he was quoted as saying.

“In addition, we seek to promote black economic empowerment to increase economic participation by the majority in the mainstream economy.”

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