The Public Investment Corporation has denied it ever requested the Tiso Blackstar Group to help it manage Independent Media, as alleged by Tiso in a lengthy statement issued earlier this week.
In fact, the PIC said Tiso had approached it “on a number of occasions” requesting the PIC to facilitate a meeting between the companies to “discuss possible areas of collaboration”.
Independent Media boss Dr Iqbal Survé has repeatedly accused the company of approaching the shareholders of Independent Media, including the PIC, “to try and consolidate the newspapers of the two businesses”.
In a statement, the PIC called on Tiso Blackstar and Independent Media to put an end to their ongoing spat. It said the war between the media houses had been going on “unnecessarily” over an extended period.
“Up to now, the PIC has not expressed a view on this spat, given that it is invested in both INMSA and Tiso and always tries not to interfere in the internal affairs of investee companies to the extent reasonable. However, the sustained spat requires that the PIC deviate from this tradition,” said spokesperson, Sekgoela Sekgoela.
The continued spat does not help the media industry at all and helps to entrench the belief that it is subjective in its posture, the PIC said.
However the PIC failed to address other issues brought up by The Media Online in questions sent to the state owned investment company such as whether it had received financials from Independent Media and if it was so concerned about its investment, why it had then underwritten the multi-billion rand launch of AYO on the JSE, and nearly committed to the Sagarmatha listing before the JSE pulled the plug.
Read more: JSE halts Sagarmatha listing
The PIC said it strongly encouraged media freedom, as it was a fundamental right enshrined in the South African Constitution and that its support for this freedom was practical and extended to media diversity in terms of ownership, control and diversity of views.
The PIC’s investment in the media sector is:
|NO||MEDIA HOUSE||EQUITY/ SHAREHOLDING|
|1||Independent News and Media South Africa||25%|
|5||Primedia||The PIC is exposed to Primedia through an Private Equity Fund|
The PIC said both Tiso and INMSA must at all times concern themselves with and focus on two fundamental issues: creating value for all investors; and informing and educating members of the public on important things that matter in their lives in the name of nation building.