Lebashe on Tiso Blackstar: We want to be a key player in digital and content

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The Lebashe Investment Group says its intention to be a "key player" in the digital and content sector lies behind its acquisition of the media, broadcasting and content businesses of Tiso Blackstar Holdings in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya for R1.05bn.

Tiso Blackstar owns publications including the Sunday Times, Business Day and Financial Mail. 

In a statement issued on Thursday evening, Lebashe said the acquisition would "significantly transform the media landscape" in SA and represented the group's "intention to be one of the key players in the digital and content sectors".

Lebashe chair Tshepo Mahloele – who is also Chief Executive Officer of Harith General Partners – added that although the group's core portfolio is weighted towards financial services, "media technology platforms are playing an ever-increasing role in the manner in which retailers and brands engage with consumers".

Noting that the acquired media assets collectively reach more than 20 million people in SA alone, Mahloele said Lebashe needed to keep abreast of media trends in order to remain relevant, particularly given the rapid pace of technological disruption in the group's core investments.  

Mahloele said, "The acquisition of the iconic media assets including the Sunday Times, Business Day, Sowetan and others owned by Tiso Blackstar, is in line with our growth trajectory and complements our financial services and technology assets."

He added, "We believe that Lebashe provides a compelling growth opportunity for the media, broadcasting and content businesses in the Tiso Blackstar stable."

Mahloele said Lebashe was the ideal partner for Tiso due to its "Pan-African expertise, technological and financial acumen".

Lebashe had confidence in the future of the media industry despite its "significant challenges over a long time", he said, which included dwindling readership and advertising revenues.

The acquisition of Tiso Blackstar's media assets follows several investments by Lebashe, including in Capitec, RainFin, and 4Africa Exchange.

In 2018, it also injected some R1bn into IT services company EOH.

Tiso will retain marketing and communication business Hirt & Carter (H&C) and the Gallo Music Group. The acquisition is reportedly expected to become commercially effective in November, subject to regulatory approvals.

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