Top deals making headlines this week

In focus this week: PepsiCo, Dimension Data, Tongaat, Tiso Blackstar and more. 

PepsiCo

The $1.7 billion (R26 billion) purchase of local food company Pioneer Foods by US giant PepsiCo has been given the go-ahead by South Africa’s Competition Tribunal.

The purchase is one of PepsiCo’s largest acquisitions outside the US and it’s also the first major transaction in which ownership by workers and historically disadvantaged individuals was the central determinant in getting the deal approved, said the Tribunal.  

PepsiCo’s July offer of R110 a share, was more than 50 percent of the value of Pioneer Foods’ shares in the month preceding the offer. The issue of voting rights by South African employees took centre stage when the companies and the Department of Trade and Industry argued for the approval of the merger before the Tribunal on Thursday. Read more here.

Dimension Data

Dimension Data has remodelled its business, which will see four of its companies come back in the fold to operate under one name – Dimension Data.

In a statement on Tuesday, Dimension Data said it’s bringing its people together, uniting the businesses of Systems IntegrationInternet SolutionsBritehouse and ContinuitySA into a diverse company.

This, it said, will deliver on the evolving technology needs of its clients. Dimension Data said from 1 April, the company will begin a process to create an operating model that will enable it to execute on its strategy and better serve its clients, employees and the communities in which they operate. Read more here

Tongaat

Little-known Evanstan Investments has emerged as one of Tongaat Hulett’s largest shareholders after it bought 5.18 percent of the agri-processing company’s total issued shares, according to Business Day.

On March 6, Tongaat’s major shareholders were the Public Investment Corporation with a 13.69 percent stake, RMB IBD Leverage Finance and Depfin Investment, each with a 9.07 percent interest, and Investec with 4.18 percent, according to the media outlet. 

Evanstan is based in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Its investment comes as the embattled sugar producer is taking steps to turn its fortunes around after financial irregularities resulted in inflated profits and assets. Read more here.

Tiso Blackstar 

Tiso Blackstar Group, the former publisher of the Business Day and Sunday Times, said it has sold its entire stake in Gallo Music for R75 million to Lebashe Investment Group’s Arena Holdings.  

The sale of Gallo Music was effective from 10 March.  In 2019, Lebashe, which bought Tiso Blackstar’s media assets for R1.05 billion, was granted a right of first refusal if the company elects to sell its interest in Gallo. Lebashe, headed by chair Tshepo Mahloele, launched a new company, Arena Holdings, housing media assets including Sowetan, Daily Dispatch, The Herald, Business Day TV and Financial Mail.The sale will see Arena taking over Gallo Music Investments (GMI) and Indigenous Film Distribution (IFD). Read more here.

Sibanye-Stillwater

Sibanye-Stillwater said on Tuesday it along with Impala Platinum (Implats) and chemical company BASF had successfully developed a new tri-metal auto catalyst allowing the partial substitution of palladium with platinum.

The news sent spot platinum 2.5 percent higher at $883 per ounce while palladium eased 0.8 percent to $2 469 by 15:00. Earlier, palladium fell as low as $2,399. The research by BASF, which was funded by Sibanye and Implats, had successfully developed and tested the catalyst that would enable higher-priced palladium to be partially replaced with lower-priced platinum in light-duty gasoline vehicles. Read more here.

Assore

Mining company Assore will buy out minority shareholders and delist from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) after 70 years on the bourse, it says.

The tightly held company, which produces iron ore, manganese and chrome, has been trading on the JSE since 1950 but has decided to delist for the sake of institutional shareholders who cannot easily trade shares because of its low liquidity.

Assore is 52.4 percent held by Oresteel Investments, which is owned by the Sacco family and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, 26.1 percent by the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) entity, with the remaining 21.5 percent free float being held by various minorities. Of this small free float, 4.1 percent is held by various members of the Sacco family in their individual capacities, leaving only 17.4 percent as a “true” minority free float.

Read more here.