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NAIL TURNS DOWN HCI BID, SAYS VENFIN

Johannesburg and Cape Town – Dillie Malherbe, VenFin’s chief executive, said yesterday that he understood that the Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) bid for New Africa Investments Limited (Nail) assets had been turned down by Nail’s board.
“We have discussed with HCI the possible financing scenarios in its bid to acquire the assets of Nail. From our perspective, we [VenFin] would have been interested in Nail’s radio assets in particular, which would have fitted in with HCI and VenFin’s control of e.tv – the free-to-air channel,” said Malherbe.
Sources said yesterday that HCI had not withdrawn its original expression of interest in acquiring Nail assets.
HCI submitted an offer to acquire Nail’s assets a few weeks ago and was still awaiting a response from the media and entertainment firm.
However, Kenny Setzin, Nail’s director, yesterday said:
“We have not yet rejected any bidders and we’re at the point of having final detailed discussions with them.”
Disposing of Nail’s assets was going according to plan. The company’s board would meet on Tuesday to look at the process, he said.
“The process is on track with short-listed bidders. The devil is in the details,” he said.
Setzin said Nail had signed a confidentiality agreement with the bidders and was not willing to confirm the number of bids received.
He reconfirmed that the board subcommittee was evaluating the only firm offer from the Safika-led consortium to acquire the entire company for R9 a share, or about R1 billion. The Safika-led consortium consists of Investec Bank, Tiso Capital Group and Mineworkers Investment Company. Johnnic Communications, which yesterday outlined its expansion into Nigeria, is also understood to have submitted a bid.
Primedia, Thinta and Kagiso Media are mum on their possible interests in acquiring some of Nail’s assets.
The assets include stakes in radio stations Kfm, Kaya FM and Radio Jacaranda, the Sowetan newspaper, Leadership magazine, 50 percent of newspaper Sowetan Sunday World, outdoor media, New Africa Books and Hertz car rental.
The Nail board will also finalise the company’s results, expected to be released next week. “We hope to find out more about their [Nail’s] asset disposal,” said Max Koep, a media analyst at Deutsche Securities.
In its results, Nail will have to shed some light on what will happen to its cash pile of about R640 million.
Saki Macozoma, the chief executive, could decide to distribute the amount to shareholders as an early Christmas bonus or as an interim dividend.
Nail shares closed unchanged at R9.40 on the JSE Securities Exchange yesterday.

Source: Business Report – Gugulakhe Masango and Vera von Lieres