Sagarmatha eyes almost R50bn market cap for new media listing

Cape Town - A company that will include many of the media assets in businessman and press baron Iqbal Survé’s empire expects to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange next week Wednesday. 

Sagarmatha Technologies ("Sagarmatha" is the Nepalese name for Mount Everest) describes itself in its pre-listing statement as an “integrated multi-sided platform African technology group”. 

Sagarmatha first hopes to raise R7.5bn in a private placement of up to 189 million shares. This private placement, open to invited investors only, has valued the group's shares at a placement price of R39.62 per share. 

The closing date of and time for the private placement is 17:00 on Thursday April 5. Investors will be notified on Friday April 6 whether their subscriptions have been successful. The company will also release the results of the private placement on Friday. 

If Sagarmatha successfully raises the money, the group says it will use the proceeds to roll out three additional regional offices in Africa, finance growth strategies, improve its current platforms and pay off outstanding group debt. 

Sagarmatha hopes to list a total of 1.2 billion shares on the main board of the JSE on Wednesday April 11, which would equate to R49.7bn in market capitalisation at the placement price of R39.62 per share. 

If all goes according to plan, it will have the JSE share code of "SGT". Sagarmatha's joint CEOs are Grant Fredericks, the chief at news wire agency ANA, and Gary Hadfield, the head of e-commerce retailer Loot Online. 

Assets

Sagarmatha’s current major assets include majority stakes in ANA, Loot, IOL Property and online news site Independent Online. 

By the time it lists on the local bourse, Sagarmatha says it would have acquired 100% of the shares of Sekunjalo Independent Media, which in turn holds a 55% interest in newspaper publisher Independent Media. 

Businessman Iqbal Survé is the executive chairperson of Sekunjalo Independent Media, Independent Media, and Independent Newspapers.

If the listing goes ahead the three business - and others that fall under the Independent Media banner - will also become subsidiaries of Sagarmatha Technologies. 

Independent Media’s stable includes a portfolio of 18 paid newspapers, including the Sunday Independent, the Star, the Cape Times, the Cape Argus, the Mercury and Isolezwe, as well as 14 free community newspapers.  

Five major commitments

Sagarmatha says that if less than R3bn is raised in the private placement, the listing on the JSE will not go ahead.

The group says it had already received five major irrevocable commitments to subscribe to the private placements. 

US investor James Rogers has committed to subscribe to between R100m and R150m in shares, as has former US representative to the African Development Bank Harold E Doley.

Both are members of the group’s international advisery board.  

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER