Ncube out as non-profit buys M&G
Media Development Investment Fund, a New York-based not-for-profit investment fund for independent media in emerging markets, has announced that it has acquired a majority stake in the Mail & Guardian. The restructured ownership also sees M&G’s CEO, Hoosain Karjieker, acquire a minority stake in the business as part of a black economic empowerment (BEE) transaction. The former majority shareholder, Trevor Ncube, has disposed of his equity interest in M&G.
“MDIF has worked with M&G for more than a decade and knows the company intimately,” says Harlan Mandel, MDIF CEO. “We have invested in M&G because it is a uniquely important media organisation with a great future. Its independent reporting has a profound impact on the national debate and it is a beacon for independent journalism across the continent, and indeed the world. We are committed to building on this legacy and re-establishing M&G as a commercially and journalistically dynamic institution at this important time in South African politics.”
MDIF has a 22-year history of helping to build print, digital and broadcast media companies in emerging markets. Since 1996, it has invested in more than 100 media companies in 39 countries on five continents. According to Karjieker, the MDIF’s knowledge of the M&G would provide a good foundation for the future of the company.
“One of Africa’s great media brands”
Mohamed Nanabhay, MDIF deputy CEO, says, “We are excited about this new chapter for M&G, and are looking forward to working with management, editorial and other staff to revive this great and relevant company’s fortunes. M&G is rightly recognised as one of Africa’s great media brands and we are thrilled to be able to bring our expertise in helping to build media companies to such an iconic institution.”
As part of the transaction, MDIF has exited its equity stake in Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) in Zimbabwe to Ncube. MDIF still retains AMH as a loan client.
“Trevor Ncube has played a vital role in the history of M&G, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to its editorial independence and high standards of journalism,” says Mandel. “He deserves enormous credit for successfully turning around a failing paper and charting a new strategy with new relevance for post-apartheid South Africa.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Ncube suggested that the company possibly over-invested in its digital platform, as well as in its Mail & Guardian Africa venture, resulting in his being unable to continue investing in the main paper.
My Press Statement on changes in ownership of Alpha Media Holdings (Zimbabwe) and M&G Media(SA)
— Trevor Ncube (@TrevorNcube) December 12, 2017