by Herman Manson (@marklives) Saratoga Software, a subsidiary of JSE listed Sekunjalo Investments Limited, has acquired a majority shareholding in Cape Town digital agency World Wide Creative.
Sekunjalo is lead by Dr Iqbal Survé, who recently made headlines thanks to the successful bid (still subject to approval from shareholders and authorities) by the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium to acquire the South African division of Irish owned Independent Newspapers in a R2 billion deal.
Independent titles include The Star, Cape Times, The Mercury and Isolezwe amongst others as well as the online news portal IOL.
(A recent SENS statement by the company points out that Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd is a party to the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium and not the JSE Listed company, Sekunjalo Investments Limited. Sekunjalo Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd (part of the consortium) “will work closely with the technology business of Sekunjalo Investments Limited (which owns Saratoga Software) to ensure that thereis synergistic benefits for Sekunjalo Investments Limited.”
Survé recently told media journalist Gill Moodie that innovation and digital transformation was key to make Independent newspapers competitive and to take on arch newspaper rival Media24. He had hinted in that interview that the imminent acquisition of digital assets to help achieve these goals were on the cards.
World Wide Creative is known for its expertise in the production and development of digital assets. Current clients include Hyundai, The Foschini Group and Virgin Mobile. World Wide Creative was launched in 2003 by business partners Fred Roed and Mike Perk.
“We now form a critical part of an exciting group of companies,” says Perk. “The partnership with Saratoga enables us to ramp up our service provision in the key areas of e-commerce, application development, search and digital media advertising.”
According to Roed the company purposefully avoided acquisition by a ‘traditional’ ad agency – saying it preferred to keep its identity and focus on mobile, large project development (hello IOL? – ed), media and search. World Wide Creative employs a team of 30 in Johannesburg and Cape Town and no job restructuring is expected to take place. Industry sources put the revenue band for the agency at between R15-20 million.
Saratoga Software is 51% owned by the Sekunjalo TSG group of companies. It is focussed on architecture design and IT strategy, business analysis, project management, software development and support. In 2011 Saratoga also acquired Digital Matter, a specialist in mobile applications.
Last year the Information and Communications Technology division (ICT) of Sekunjalo saw profits jump by 191% from R13m to R38m. Revenue grew 22%. Saratoga Software, part of the ICT division, grew its profits to R4.3m from R2.7m.
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