by MarkLives (@marklives) Joe Public United has announced that 60% of the company has been acquired by black shareholders, resulting in what the agency says is now the largest majority-black-owned, independent agency group in South Africa. The transaction sees three senior agency executives — Khuthala Gala Holten, Xolisa Dyeshana and Mpume Ngobese — acquiring a 26% shareholding through a newly created company, Ikamva Lakusasa, with 100% black-owned private equity investment company, Senatla Capital, buying another 34%.
In line with its mandate, Senatla Capital has funded a substantial portion of the acquisition by Ikamva Lakusasa. Senatla Capital was founded by Owen Maubane in 2010 with the mission of investing capital in South African companies and helping to transform the South African economy. Maubane now becomes the chairperson of the agency group.
The remaining 40% of shareholding is retained by the current shareholders, including Gareth Leck, group CEO; Pepe Marais, group chief creative officer; and Laurent Marty, group strategic officer. The new structure also includes a mechanism for equity to be made available, in time, to existing and future Joe Public staff.
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“Culmination of a journey”
“Xolisa and I have been with Joe Public for 15 years, and Mpume has been here for seven years, and we are steeped in its culture,” says Holten, Joe Public MD and Ikamva Lakusasa shareholder. “We not only look forward to being part of the group’s exciting new growth path but also to [being] part of the transformation process in this industry and opening the way for more black ownership in business.”
Concludes Leck, “This is the culmination of a journey that began a long time ago and included lots of hard work and late nights in pursuit of a dream to create genuine transformation in the brand communications industry. We’re confident that the structure of the transaction allows us to authentically transform the company into a majority-black-owned entity, while retaining our cherished independence and ensuring that high levels of ownership remain with the leadership team. Khuthala, Xolisa and Mpume have all made a massive and valued contribution in growing Joe Public United into the agency group it has become.”
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Photo taken pre-covid-19 pandemic. From top (L–R): Owen Maubane, Pepe Marais, Zanele Xaba (member of Senatla Capital’s strategy & operations board), Laurent Marty, Xolisa Dyeshana, Mpume Ngobese, and Neil van der Weele (Joe Public United board member and advisor). From bottom (L–R): Thato Tsotetsi (Senatla Capital principal), Khuthala Gala-Holten, and Gareth Leck.