Sapa weighs options on Gallo Images takeover

2014-08-11 19:42

A decision on the future of the SA Press Association (Sapa) will be announced soon, says board chairperson Tim du Plessis.

“We don’t expect this to take very long. We hope to shortly be able to make an announcement on Sapa’s future,” he said today.

“The Sapa board had a meeting last Friday at which Gallo Images gave a presentation on how Sapa could in future become part of the Gallo Images operation.”

Du Plessis said this was followed by an in-depth discussion. The board members representing the remaining media houses on the Sapa board would consult their representatives and return with mandates.

Gallo Images is looking at acquiring Sapa, following the withdrawal of membership by Times Media Group and Caxton. Independent Newspapers will also withdraw its membership in November, having given the news agency a six-month notice period. This leaves Media 24 as the sole remaining member of Sapa.

Independent Newspapers, Caxton, and TMG’s digital platforms remain Sapa subscribers.

The withdrawal of memberships left Sapa’s operational model needing revision, and a new home for Sapa was sought, with the board receiving enquiries locally and internationally.

After considering Sapa’s 75-year history and it being the only independent news agency in Africa, the board believed Sapa should remain a South African enterprise.

Gallo Images thereafter emerged as a possible candidate.

Last month, Du Plessis said Gallo was doing a “due diligence” process at Sapa.

“...They are looking at the model, the production issues, the IT requirements, and they are also looking how it could be possible for Sapa to become part of the Gallo group of companies,” he said at the time.

“On the basis of the due diligence process, they will make a final decision, and the ultimate decision will lie with the Sapa board.”

The main concern for the board was that Sapa continued as a news agency, and that “proper regard” be taken for the current staff.

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