Gallo keen to buy Sapa

Johannesburg - Gallo Images is looking into possibly acquiring the SA Press Association (Sapa), the news agency's chair said on Thursday.

"Gallo is doing a due diligence process, where they are looking at the model, the production issues, the IT requirements, and they are also looking [at] how it could be possible for Sapa to become part of the Gallo group of companies," said chair Tim du Plessis, who is a former Media24 editor.

This was not to say Gallo Images would take over Sapa.

"They are doing the due diligence and how the system works," said Du Plessis. "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.

"We are very keen for Sapa to continue as a news agency and operation, and we want proper regard to be taken to the current staff."

Sapa members leave

This followed the Times Media Group withdrawing its membership of Sapa, with Caxton following suit in July.

"Independent Newspapers gave six months' notice period," he said. "They will withdraw their membership of Sapa and from November onwards, they will no longer be a member."

"That only leaves Media24", which owns half of Gallo.

Independent Newspapers and Caxton will remain Sapa subscribers. TMG's digital platforms also remain subscribers.

This left the current operational model needing revision. The board decided it needed to try find a new home for Sapa, with the board receiving enquiries from other organisations, with some of them being based overseas.

Local is lekker

However, given Sapa's notable 75-year history and being the only independent news agency in Africa, the board thought Sapa must stay a South African enterprise.

"In the process of trying to find a new home for Sapa, Gallo Images emerged as a possibility and that is how they came to be involved," Du Plessis said.

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