‘Joke of the century’: South Africa responds to ANN7, The New Age sale

ann7 gupta oakbay sale

Gupta-owned Oakbay has announced the sale of its two media companies — ANN7 and The New Age — for R450-million.

Purchasing the duo is Lodidox — a company owned by businessman and former ANC cabinet spokesperson Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi.

“The sale is part of Oakbay’s commitment to preserve jobs and provide certainty to over 7500 hard-working employees throughout the group and to safeguard the inherent value of the businesses in which they work,” Oakbay said in a statement.

“Under a new majority shareholder, Oakbay believes that both businesses and their employees will have the bright and prosperous future they deserve. The sale will also allow the shareholder the time to focus on clearing its name in the face of unfounded media allegations.”

It expected the sale to be concluded over the “next few weeks”.

But that hasn’t stopped South Africans from making their opinions known now.

Oakbay’s R450m deal includes ANN7 at R300m and The New Age at R150m

Two tweets by South African columnist Tom Eaton got the ball rolling, while journalist Adriaan Basson’s breaking news tweet received the most responses.

As soon as the latter was published, both #ANN7 and #Oakbay began trending in South Africa, with a number of sub-trends also featuring.

Questions were lead by those in the media industry. MD of Platco Digital Patrick Conroy, who had experience running ANN7 competitor eNCA, stated that the price tag was markedly inflated.

Others on Twitter called into question Oakbay’s sale of the two companies.

Leading South African politicians’ comments, EFF leader Julius Malema called the deal the “joke of the century”, while the UDM’s Bantu Holomisa was in a congratulatory mood.

Mzwanele Manyi also came under the spotlight. Tweets scrutinised the “vendor financing” arrangement between the two companies and Manyi’s relationship with the Guptas.

And some used Julius Malema memes to further drive the point home.

Some however came to Manyi’s defence, expressing that South Africans shouldn’t be “hating”. Others shared this sentiment and congratulated Manyi.

But not everyone agreed.

Others just wished the Guptas would stop trending on Twitter.

Feature image: ANN7 via Facebook

Andy Walker
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