Guptas blame cruel media treatment for business exit

London - The Gupta family, owners of Oakbay Investments and friends of President Jacob Zuma, have been subjected to "cruel and harsh" treatment from the media in the country, contributing to the decision to sell their local businesses, the company’s chief executive officer said.

There has been tangible interest from a potential international buyer for the assets, Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa said in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

“There’s never a right time to sell a business, but we’ve had some interest from some international parties,” Howa said. “We’d be crazy to close our eyes just to one party, so we will consider other offers as well.”

The family made the surprise announcement on August 27 that it will exit all its interests in South Africa by the end of the year. Zuma, who has described the Guptas as friends while denying that they wield political influence, is facing a public backlash over a police investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Oakbay Investments owns 80% of Oakbay Resources & Energy [JSE:ORL], a gold and coal mining company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Other businesses include closely held Sahara Computers, a heavy-equipment supplier, a safari lodge, a television news channel and a national newspaper.

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