Tokyo SexwaleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Mvelaphanda Group is after a 30% stake in the Mail&Guardian newspaper, writes Simpiwe Piliso in Business Times.
This comes just a week after the company announced the successful conclusion of a deal with fund managers Allan Gray to take over an estimated R1.4-billion stake in Johnnic Communications (Johncom) which owns, among other media interests, the Sunday Times.
On Friday, M&G publisher Trevor Ncube denied that an agreement had been reached or that Mvela was the preferred bidder for a stake in his company.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œAll I can say at this stage is that we are in talks with a number of people and none of the discussions are anywhere close to a deal.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Regarded as one of the countryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s most influential newspapers, the M&G has a circulation of just under 50000 a week.
Asked whether SexwaleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s company was among the bidders, Ncube said: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not prepared to disclose who we are talking to … this could jeopardise our discussions.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Mvela spokesman Chris Vick declined to comment on the M&G deal.
SexwaleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s move on the Mail&Guardian comes as Mvela finds itself having to fight off rivals for control of Johncom and its popular and powerful newspapers.
Business Times has confirmed that ANC heavyweight, Saki MacozomaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Safika Holdings, which has stakes in Standard Bank and the Liberty Group, is part of a consortium which is also interested in Johncom.
And, last week the Sunday Times revealed that senior government officials were part of a consortium bidding for 100% of Johncom.
Koni Media Holdings, a company belonging to President Thabo MbekiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s adviser Titus Mafolo, Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, former chief of state protocol Billy Modise and businessman Groovin Nchabeleng, later confirmed they had launched a R7-billion bid for 100% of the operational divisions of Johncom.
On Friday, Macozoma said his group was in talks to acquire a stake in JohncomÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s media assets.
Click here to read the full report, posted on the Sunday Times website.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â