Caxton returns, SAPA to be rebuilt – directors

From the Board of the SA Press Association:

The board of directors of the South African Press Association (Sapa) is pleased to announce its decision to reconstitute and commercially revamp the news agency.

The intentions are that the independent domestic wire service’s 76-year-old non-profit business model will be replaced with a commercial entity which will be capitalised and briefed to become a modern fully multimedia provider of news coverage of and to South Africa and the African Continent.

The new company will have the support of an expanded shareholder base. This will include original member newspaper companies of the current Association, as well as investment and participation by other media-based companies who see value in the project and especially in the benefits of a vibrant, cost-effective and autonomous South African and African multi-platform news agency.

While the new entity will be commercial, the board is committed to ensuring the current news agency’s autonomy on producing credible and independent editorial content is continued. The Sapa board is in the process of developing options for the reconstitution of the business, for presentation to and discussion with those parties that have submitted expressions of interest.

Interested parties include Gallo Images, which has tabled a firm proposal to the board. Media24, which is currently a member of Sapa, is a substantial shareholder in Gallo. A second interested party is Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, which is a privately held investment vehicle with holdings in a wide range of business activities, including a substantial stake in the Independent Newspapers group, which is also a current member of Sapa. A third interested party is KMM 2 Review Publishers, which is involved in a range of businesses including publishing and television productions.

The Sapa board has communicated its approach to each of the interested parties, and anticipates discussions, soon, on further detail.

The board held a special meeting on September 2, at which Ms Minette Ferreira, General Manager at Media24 News, was unanimously elected as the chairperson, and Mr Fergus Sampson of Media24 and Mr Dave Tiffin of Independent Newspapers were elected to the board.

In addition, Mr Piet Greyling, who had formerly represented The Citizen as a member group prior to its resignation, was reappointed a director with confirmation that his group was returning to Sapa as a full member. The new appointments join the existing directors Mr Tony Howard, of Independent, and Mr Adriaan Basson of Media24

The board noted that misperceptions that the company would be sold to the highest bidder are incorrect. Sapa is a Section 21 non-profit company and as such cannot be simply sold. In view of this, the dissolution of the Section 21 non-profit structure and the establishment of the new entity will need to be addressed via full due legal processes and with complete transparency.

Particular attention will be paid throughout this process to ensuring the interests of all employees of Sapa are meticulously and correctly attended to, as well as seeking where possible to maximise opportunities for these staffers within the new company. Independent external experts will be engaged to carry out the complex brief of reconstituting Sapa, with an instruction to start work without delay.

“The principle decisions to secure Sapa’s future have been confirmed. We expect the implementation phase to start very soon and will issue further statements in due course,” Ms Ferreira said.

(Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)