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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 5 (Reuters) - South African media group Johnnic Communications (Johncom) JCMJ.J said on Monday that it had not received a binding offer from Koni Media Holdings.
Koni, a black group made up of prominent politicians allied to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, said on Sunday they had bid 7 billion rand ($1.06 billion) for Johncom, which owns South Africa’s biggest selling weekly, The Sunday Times, and half of financial daily Business Day, cinemas and bookstores.
“Johncom advises, in response to current media speculation in connection with Koni Media Holdings (Pty) Limited, that no binding unconditional offer has been received as contemplated in the Securities Regulation Code on Takeovers and Mergers,” Johncom said in a statement.
Johncom said any offer it received that complies with the mergers code would be dealt with as the code required.
Johncom closed 1.21 percent higher at 108.30 rand, valuing the firm at 11.2 billion rand.
Groovin Nchabeleng, chief executive of Koni Media Holdings, told Reuters on Sunday that the investment company made a 7 billion rand offer to buy 100 percent of Johncom.
Political adviser to the presidency Titus Mafolo, foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa and former chief of state protocol Billy Modise have shares in Koni Media Holdings, with Nchabeleng as the majority owner.
News of the bid drew more criticism of President Thabo Mbeki, whose opponents say that placing the newspapers under the control of his allies would damage their editorial independence.
Mbeki’s political rivals are watching his every move as he competes for re-election as leader of the ruling ANC.
(Reporting by Ron Derby, editing by Will Waterman)
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