Tiso Blackstar Group sells media business to Lebashe for R1-billion

It expects the deal to become commercially effective by the end of November.

Tiso Blackstar, the South Africa-based publisher of Business Day, Financial Mail, the Sunday Times, Sowetan and other titles, has signed an agreement to sell its South African media, broadcasting and content businesses to Lebashe Investment Group for R1.05-billion.

Tiso Blackstar said the sale will unlock significant value for its shareholders “while also ensuring that the media business has a strong and committed shareholder in Lebashe to take it forward.”

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, will include Tiso Blackstar’s print, broadcasting and content businesses in South Africa, Ghana and Kenya – excluding Gallo Music Group, multi-channel marketing and communication solutions business Hirt & Carter and its South African radio assets.

In a statement on Thursday, Tiso said it had also reached an agreement on the terms upon which it will sell its media, broadcasting and content businesses in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, plus its South African radio assets to Lebashe, for an additional R250-million.

The total transaction will come to just over R1-billion.

Lebashe is an unlisted investment holding company focusing on financial services and ICT, among other things. The company has grown significantly since inception and holds stakes in various well-known businesses, such as Capitec, EOH and RainFin.

“Lebashe will ensure continuity of the business with the retention of key management and has confidence that the current business strategy is sound and viable,” Tiso Blackstar said. 

Lebashe’s chair Tshepo Mahloele said: “The transaction complements our current portfolio and growth trajectory. We anticipate that our newly acquired media assets will play a critical role in our ambition to create a significant investment company on the continent.”

“While the media industry in general is undergoing disruption, we believe that the assets we are acquiring are generating sustainable revenues to withstand the change in the medium term. It is our plan to support the editorial team with an advisory council made up of eminent local and international persons. Our long-term approach to investing will also enable us to focus on growth of quality journalism.”

Tiso Blackstar Group CEO Andrew Bonamour said: “We have worked hard to ensure we modernise the media business from its legacy structures into an agile and forward-looking company with a sustainable future. This is a perfect opportunity for a new owner to take it to greater heights.” 

Restructuring

According to Tiso Blackstar’s statement, the deal will require an internal restructuring of the group of companies of which it is the ultimate holding company into entities that can be sold to Lebashe.

The purchase price of the South Africa sale will be “adjusted for debt, cash and normalised working capital, and for any movement in tangible net asset value”. Tiso Blackstar expects the sale of the South Africa assets to become commercially effective by the end of November.