Media24 to unbundle majority stake in Novus

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Johannesburg  - The Competition Tribunal has approved a merger filing between printing group Novus Holdings [JSE:NVS] and Naspers [JSE:NPN] shareholders, which will retain a non-controlling 19% stake in the company.

“Accordingly, Media24 is now required to unbundle the majority of its shareholding in Novus to Naspers, its ultimate holding company, and thereafter to Naspers’s shareholders,” a stock exchange statement read. 

Media24 is required to lodge any amendments required to its Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) to give effect to the unbundling of shares to its shareholders with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) within 20 business days and within 40 business days after the amended MOI has been approved by CIPC, to implement the unbundling.

READ: Novus and ITB merger gets approval

In April, the Competition Commission recommended that Media24 divest its majority shareholding of Novus Holdings to its shareholders and retain a non-controlling 19% stake in the company.

Despite the unbundling, Media24 said it remains committed to its print media operations. “Print media is and will remain a core part of Media24’s portfolio,” Media24 previously said. 

“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, e-fashion, e-commerce services and online job classifieds," Media24 said.

In February 2015, Media24 announced its intention to list Novus on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

On November 25 2015 the Competition Appeal Court ruled that the implementation of the restated management agreement leading up to the listing gave rise to a change in control over Novus.

READ: Commission recommends Media24 divest majority stake in Novus

A merger between Media24, Novus Holdings - formerly Paarl Media Group - and the Natal Witness was approved by the Competition Tribunal in 2012.

Prior to the merger, the Competition Commission and Caxton publishers and printers had provided submissions on potential competition and public interest concerns with the merger.

Former Novus chairperson Lambert Retief, who passed away in January this year, decided against his decision to retire and sell the minority shares under his control in 2014, of which Media24 now owns the majority share.

Retief had built up Novus (previously Paarl Media) from a family business in Paarl and began trading on the JSE in 2015.

Novus Holdings posted a revenue increase of 4.5% in the six months ended September 30 2016, despite tough trading conditions.

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