TMG to delist from JSE

Finweek English Edition - - IN THE NEWS - BY LIESl pey per

Times Me­dia Group (TMG) will soon delist from the JSE pending a cash-and-share trans­ac­tion that will en­able it to ex­pand its reach in ra­dio and TV on the con­ti­nent. Finweek takes a look at the com­pany’s ac­qui­si­tions, sales and the planned buy­out by Black­star.

When for­mer in­vest­ment banker An­drew Bon­amour oc­cu­pied Times Me­dia’s of f i ces i n Rose­bank, Jo­han­nes­burg, as the new CEO in Jan­uary 2013, the move was met with sus­pi­cion and scep­ti­cism.

Play­ers in the me­dia in­dus­try feared that Bon­amour would sell the print side of the busi­ness, which owns the Sun­day Times, Busi­ness Day and Fi­nan­cial Mail, once he had rid it of loss-mak­ing at­tributes, as he had no for­mer ed­i­to­rial ex­pe­ri­ence.

Bon­amour has never been fazed about his lack of ed­i­to­rial skills though. He pre­vi­ously told jour­nal­ that me­dia com­pa­nies ac­tu­ally needed to be en­trepreneuri­ally led be­cause the in­dus­try was chang­ing rapidly and this ne­ces­si­tated quick de­ci­sions.

Un­der Bon­amour’s watch, the group has done sig­nif­i­cant re­struc­tur­ing, sell­ing so-called “non-core as­sets”, in­clud­ing Nu Metro, Ex­clu­sive Books, the Van Schaik book­stores and fi­nan­cial news and data group I-Net Bridge (now INET BFA), as well as re­trench­ing staff.

He did away with a heavy man­age­ment struc­ture and re­duced head of­fice staff from 75 to six. TMG spent R20m on re­trench­ments in 2014 and R21m in 2013, and has been sued by for­mer ex­ec­u­tives af­ter TMG changed its pol­icy on post-re­tire­ment med­i­cal aid sub­si­dies.

“We have cleaned up Times Me­dia,” he told Finweek. “It’s more ef­fi­cient and stream­lined its staff ing to match the prof­itabil­ity of each re­spec­tive ti­tle.”

It can also be ar­gued that TMG had no choice but to sell off as­sets, of­ten at a loss, to ser­vice the mas­sive debt bur­den ac­quired by the buy­out of Avusa and

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