The sale, which is expected to be completed after seeking certain regulatory and other approvals, will aim to unlock value for Tiso Blackstar Group shareholders while also ensuring that the media business has a strong and committed shareholder in Lebashe to take it forward.

According to the Group, the business offers a diverse reach unmatched in the South African and broader African market, spanning print, digital, TV, radio and films.

It holds leading market positions in the sectors in which it operates and is home to South African news brands such as Sunday Times, Sowetan and Business Day. It operates the leading independent film distribution business in Africa and has investments in market-leading broadcast businesses in Ghana and Kenya.

"As long-term investors, we are quite excited about this transaction, which complements our current portfolio and growth trajectory. We anticipate that our newly acquired media assets will play a critical role in our ambition to create a significant investment company on the continent," says Lebashe chairperson, Tshepo Mahloele.

"Whilst the media industry, in general, is undergoing disruption, we believe that the assets we are acquiring are generating sustainable revenues to withstand the change in the medium term," Mahloele adds.

"Moreover, we are acquiring leading brands supported by a good team. It is our plan to support the editorial team with an advisory council made up of eminent local and international persons," says Mahloele.

"Our long-term approach to investing will also enable us to focus on the growth of quality journalism, which should add to the positive experience of our customers and the country in general," Mahloele adds.

Mahloele says, "We look forward to working with the management team to take the business to the next level in this highly competitive media landscape. We are cognisant of the fact that we are acquiring mature but quality media assets with a rich heritage built on the back of quality journalism supported by discerning and loyal readers."

"We plan to maintain and enhance the distinctive value proposition offered by these various platforms to the readers and advertisers, as we explore new growth areas for the business including creating a pan-African wide media platform using technology as an enabler," Mahloele adds.

Tiso Blackstar Group has aimed to help stabilise and grow the media, broadcasting and content assets since the acquisition of an initial stake in the then Times Media Group in 2012, and the outright purchase in 2015.

It has successfully integrated BDFM, following the acquisition of the 50% of the business it did not own, and has cleared out a number of underperforming and non-core businesses. It has also grown its audience — especially in digital — and also aimed to ensure it has the right talent in place to take the titles and the business forward.

Additionally, the Group has accomplished its goal of putting the films and television businesses on a strong footing to grow in their market segments and established strong positions in the Ghanaian and Kenyan broadcasting markets.

"We have worked hard to ensure we modernise the media business from its legacy structures into an agile and forward-looking company with a sustainable future. This is a perfect opportunity for a new owner to take it to greater heights," says Tiso Blackstar Group CEO, Andrew Bonamour.

It will also allow Tiso Blackstar Group to aim and focus on its remaining businesses and investments, specifically Hirt & Carter, which has grown in recent years.

Tiso Blackstar will retain Gallo Music Group and develop it further as the music industry continues to evolve. The Group remains committed to ensuring it unlocks value in it Kagiso Tiso Holdings’ stake in the short to medium term.

It will also ensure continuity with the retention of management in the business. Mahloele says there will be further opportunities to grow the business through both acquisitions, and by growing market share.

Lebashe is an unlisted investment holding company focusing on financial services, ICT and industrial technology and complementary sectors. The company has grown since inception and holds stakes in various businesses such as Capitec, EOH, Rainfin and others.

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