Sale of Paarl Media stake cancelled

Cape Town - A minority shareholder in the Paarl Media Group has decided to withdraw the sale of his put shares.

Lambert Retief (61), non-executive chair of Paarl Media Group, of which Media24 owns more than 80%, said in a statement issued on Friday that he decided against his decision to retire and sell the shares under his control.

His current management agreement will, therefore, remain in place.

The Retief family had signed an agreement with Media24, which gave them put options in future to oblige Media24 to buy the family's shares in Paarl Media.

"After turning 60 I wanted to retire, so we exercised our put options to sell the remaining 5% and 12.5% shares in two companies in the heatset and coldset printing businesses to Media24," said Retief.
"Media24 already has more than 80% of the shares in both companies, but because I had a management agreement which would lapse, we had notified the Competition Commission of a 'merger' transaction."

Caxton, a direct competitor, objected.

"The Competition Commission, after thoroughly considering the objections raised by Caxton, recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the merger be approved unconditionally," said Retief.
The Tribunal, however, did not agree and, according to Refief, refused to give any reasons for its decision.

Caxton claimed the proposed merger could give rise to anti-competitive information sharing that could negatively affect media diversity in South Africa.

The Tribunal granted Caxton's application to intervene in the merger application between Media24, Paarl Media Holdings and Paarl Coldset.

It also ordered Media24 to submit information about firms directly and indirectly in control of Naspers.
"We simply can’t proceed with the deal, as Caxton will be as disruptive as they can and will paralyse us operationally for years to come, given the width and depth of the interventions allowed by the Tribunal," said Retief.

"Caxton and their lawyers can, in this way, access Media24’s commercially sensitive information."

According to Retief a previous chair of the Competition Tribunal, Dave Lewis, once said Caxton's rivalry "borders on the obsessive", "pure harassment" and is "for the sheer pleasure of irritating Naspers".

- Fin24

* Fin24 is part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot