Independent News and Media (INM), the country’s largest newspaper group, is up for sale, Business Day reported on Thursday.
The news, which broke on Wednesday, ignited a flurry of speculation about politically connected buyers lining up to bid for the group.
Newspapers owned by the group include The Star, Cape Times and Sunday Independent.
Cyril Ramaphosa’s Shanduka Group and Iqbal Survé’s Sekunjalo Investments were named by the Financial Times as likely buyers of the titles, although there had been several expressions of interest.
Survé said on Wednesday it was “not the policy of myself, or Sekunjalo group, or its holding company to comment on any speculation”.
Shanduka group CEO Phuti Mahanyele denied they were investing in Independent News and Media’s South African assets.
“We are not looking at an acquisition of Independent News and Media,” Business Day quoted her saying.
An INM spokesman reportedly told the Financial Times it “continues to assess a range of strategic options to deleverage its balance sheet. These include cost reduction and productivity initiatives… progressing well. No divestment decisions have been taken by the board.”
Tony Howard, INM SA CEO, was not available to comment.