Times Media Group has acquired more than one-third of a Ghanaian broadcaster for almost $15.2 million (South African R150m), a deal that will widen the firm's broadcast footprint and expose it to high growth markets in West Africa.
The Multi Media Group currently operates Joy FM, Adom FM, Asempa FM, Luv FM and Hitz FM as well as Multi TV and Myjoyonline.com.
The deal would see Times Media take up about 33 percent in Multimedia. The South African Media giant operates a TV channel, Business Day, Newspapers, Financial Mail and Sunday Times and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Chief Finance Officer at Multimedia Group, Ken Ansah explained to Joy Business that the deal will consolidate the business of Multimedia Group and propel its presence into the West Africa sub region. He said this is a confirmation of the credibility of the MGL brand which will enable MGL expand into a bigger market.
Times Media, whose print media interests include Business Day, Financial Mail and the Sunday Times, is expected to pay cash for its stake in the firm.
Though this is the first foray outside of South Africa for the company under its new management, five years ago, under its previous brand Avusa, the group exited from Nigeria and Kenya, selling its ventures there for $3.8m.
In Nigeria, Avusa experienced logistical difficulties and had a business that was undercapitalised. In Kenya, Avusa had large working capital needs and was operating in a challenged political and economic environment.
The Ghana acquisition should help Times Media reduce reliance on print media, and claim its position in the fast-growing African continent.
Times Media Group's broadcast interests include Business Day TV, The Home Channel, Ignition and Learning Channel.
Multimedia Group owns six of Ghana's leading radio stations and a free-to-air satellite television service. The free-to-air television service is reportedly available in Nigeria.
As a free-to-air television platform, Multimedia sells set-top boxes and is dependent on advertising revenue. Multimedia Group also owns an online news platform, a social networking site and an events management and marketing service.
Business Day understands that South Africa's Kagiso Media, which is looking to expand in the rest of Africa, had previously expressed an interest in Ghana's Multimedia.
Attempts to get Multimedia CEO Kwasi Twum to comment were unsuccessful. Times Media Group CEO Andrew Bonamour said he would not comment on speculation.
Market speculation is that Times Media is close to sealing a deal to sell its book chain brands Exclusive Books and Van Schaik. Times Media has previously indicated that Exclusive Books and Van Schaik assets were for sale.
Meanwhile, the financial news division of Times Media Group, BDFM, is looking to retrench some editorial staff in a bid to cut costs.
Times Media shares were down 0.65% to R20 yesterday. The firm is expected to release its financial results at the end of this month.