after the group’s Irish parent company agreed to sell the company to a Sekunjalo-led consortium.

According to reports,  the deal was approved on Monday morning.

The Independent News & Media’s website, says the decision to approve the transaction was reached at a shareholder meeting, called to discuss the restructuring of the company’s debts.

All motions passed during the brief meeting gives the company a green light to dispose its South Africa unit and issue new shares, South Africa’s Business Day reported.

Iqbal Survé, who heads the Sekunjalo consortium, could not hide his joy after the approval of the deal on Monday. He tweeted: Great News. INM shareholders today approved the sale of Independent to Sekunjalo. The vicious campaign by competitors to stop this has failed.

Business Day also reported that the sale has brought to the surface issues of media transformation and ownership in South Africa, which has come under much scrutiny in recent months.

A group of journalists and editors were this month bitter over the alleged latent purchase of INMSA by the Sekunjalo consortium.

It was impossible for Independent staff to feel secure about their jobs, said a letter sent by the South Africa National Editors’ Forum (SANEF).

The letter says in part:  “when the identities of the stakeholders forming the consortium, and that of the shareholders as well as details of how the company will be funded and by whom, are not provided”.

The letter was referring to the refusal by Iqbal Survé, who heads the Sekunjalo consortium, to reveal the identity of the consortium’s shareholders until after the Irish shareholders voted on the deal.

Independent is SA’s largest English newspaper group, with 18 titles including Pretoria News, Cape Times, Isolezwe and The Mercury. The Star is the flagship newspaper of the Independent News and Media.

In May the South African Government’s Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) said it had bought 25 percent of Independent News and Media for $52 million.

Khaya Buthelezi, the GEPF spokesman, said this was in keeping with the government’s mandate. The GEPF also has a 19.5 percent stake in TMG.


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