Johannesburg – The Competition Tribunal has rejected publishing house Caxton’s application to stop the Media24 merger with printing group Novus Holdings [JSE:NVS].
According to a statement issued by the Tribunal on Thursday, Caxton wanted clarity on the control structure relating to the merger. The Tribunal dismissed the application on this basis, indicating that that the control structure was not relevant to the proposed transaction in light of a condition attached to a de-merger.
The condition was recommended by the Competition Commission. In the case of a de-merger Media24 would divest its majority shareholding in Novus to parent company Naspers, and maintain a 19% non-controlling stake of Novus.
“In terms of this condition Media24 will sell down its existing stake in Novus to a level at which Media24 will no longer exercise control over Novus,” said the Tribunal.
Media24 previously said that it remains committed to its print media operations, despite the proposed unbundling. “Print media is and will remain a core part of Media24’s portfolio. We are excited about the future of Media24, and the conclusion of this process enables us to focus on our objective of enriching the lives of our consumers through our strong portfolio of digital and print media products, efashion, ecommerce services and online job classifieds.”
A merger between Media24, Novus Holdings - formerly Paarl Media Group, and Natal Witness was approved by the Competition Tribunal as far back as 2012, despite submissions by the Commission and Caxton.
In February 2015 Media24 announced intentions to list Novus on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The Competition Tribunal later dismissed an appeal to stop the listing in March 2015, Fin24 reported.
A restated management agreement which led to the listing indicated a change in control at Novus, the Competition Appeal Court ruled in November 2015. Subsequently Media24 was required to notify the competition authorities of the transaction by way of a merger filing, which was filed to the Commission in February 2016.
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