D-Day for share placement in 'super-galactic highway' Sagarmatha

Cape Town - Sagarmatha Technologies, the parent company that is aiming to corral the assets of Iqbal Surve’s Independent Media empire, is set to announce the results of its private share placement on Wednesday.

The group is aiming to raise up to R7.5bn by the placing of 189 million shares with invited investors, two days ahead of its main listing on the JSE. 

UPDATE: Survé-linked Sagarmatha's JSE listing again shelved

Sagarmatha was initially scheduled to list on the local bourse last week Friday. The date was twice postponed, and the group now intends to list on Friday April 13.

Ahead of the listing Independent Media, which is set to fall under the group if the listing goes ahead, has been hitting back at claims that the placing shares are overvalued at R39.62, and the Sagarmatha used meaningless buzzwords to talk up the offering.

Business Report editor Adri Senekal de Wet, for example, wrote in an opinion piece that Sagarmatha could potentially force competitors into bankruptcy. 

A separate opinion piece referred to Independent Media as a “super-galactic highway” which “has managed to re-engineer itself to take advantage of technology and the fourth industrial revolution”. 

Businessman Iqbal Surve is the chairperson of Sekunjalo Independent Media and Independent Media. In its pre-listing statement, Sagarmatha (the Nepalese name for Mount Everest) said about R1bn of its pre-listing funds raised would be used to pay off debt. 

If R3bn or less is raised, Sagarmatha will not list on Friday. 

Catch them if you can 

Sagarmatha’s current assets include majority stakes in news wire agency ANA, e-commerce retailer Loot, IOL Property and online news site IOL. 

It is also aiming to buy all the shares in Sekunjalo Independent Media, which in turn holds a 55% stake in newspaper publisher Independent Media, owner of the Cape Times, the Star and other newspapers.

Sagarmatha has said that it would have bought these shares by the time it lists on the JSE. 

By doing so Sagarmatha will bring together all of the assets of Surve’s media empire. 

Independent Media’s stable includes a portfolio of 18 paid newspapers, including the Sunday Independent, the Star, the Cape Times, the Cape Argus, the Mercury and Isolezwe, as well as 14 free community newspapers.  

Sagarmatha, according to its pre-listing statement, also has ambitious plans to roll out or acquire new business in e-commerce, digital media and content syndication. 

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