TIMES Media Group has acquired more than one-third of a Ghanaian broadcaster for almost R150m‚ a deal that will widen the firm’s broadcast footprint and expose it to high growth markets in West Africa.
A person close to the deal said Times Media Group was acquiring Ghana’s Multimedia Group‚ which is the largest private commercial media group in that country.
Times Media‚ whose print media interests include The Herald, Business Day‚ Financial Mail and the Sunday Times‚ is expected to pay cash for its stake in the firm.
Though this is the first foray outside of South Africa for the company under its new management‚ five years ago‚ under its previous brand Avusa‚ the group exited from Nigeria and Kenya‚ selling its ventures there for $3.8m. In Nigeria‚ Avusa experienced logistical difficulties and had a business that was undercapitalised. In Kenya‚ Avusa had large working capital needs and was operating in a challenged political and economic environment.
The Ghana acquisition should help Times Media reduce reliance on print media‚ and claim its position in the fast-growing African continent.
Times Media Group’s broadcast interests include Business Day TV‚ The Home Channel‚ Ignition and Learning Channel.
Multimedia Group owns six of Ghana’s leading radio stations and a free-to-air satellite television service. The free-to-air television service is reportedly available in Nigeria. As a free-to-air television platform‚ Multimedia sells set-top boxes and is dependent on advertising revenue.
Multimedia Group also owns an online news platform‚ a social networking site and an events management and marketing service.
Business Day understands that South Africa’s Kagiso Media‚ which is looking to expand in the rest of Africa‚ had previously expressed an interest in Ghana’s Multimedia. Attempts to get comment from Multimedia CEO Kwasi Twum were unsuccessful.
Times Media Group CEO Andrew Bonamour said he would not comment on speculation.
Market speculation is that Times Media is close to sealing a deal to sell its book chain brands Exclusive Books and Van Schaik.
Times Media has previously indicated that Exclusive Books and Van Schaik assets were for sale.
Meanwhile‚ the financial news division of Times Media Group‚ BDFM‚ is looking to retrench some editorial staff in a bid to cut costs.
Times Media shares were down 0.65% to R20 yesterday. The firm is expected to release its financial results at the end of this month. © BDlive 2013