Mzwanele Manyi, sole owner of the company that bought Gupta-owned media units ANN7 and The New Age, said on Wednesday he decided to disclose the shareholding to be transparent and show good governance.

He repeatedly stressed that a new era of honesty and transparency in the media has dawned.

Manyi revealed that he is the sole shareholder in Lodidox, and invited selected journalists to view shareholder documents at a press briefing in Johannesburg.

He said a request to make the shareholder register open to the public is unusual for a private start-up company. “Two media companies have sent lawyer’s letters.
My initial stance was to meet them in court. I decided to waive that right. I am making the Lodidox shareholder register public,” he said. The sale of the Guptas’ media business for R450-millio on August 21 sparked a social media frenzy, with some criticising the deal and questioning how Manyi could afford the asking price – despite the deal being ‘vendor financed’.

In effect, Manyi is indebted to the Guptas for the purchase price and has agreed to repay this over five years – without having to outlay the capital outright.

There has also been concern over whether the deal was simply a tactic to convince the Bank of Baroda and other potential bankers to accept the media companies as clients, following the closure of their business accounts by several banks.

However, staff at former Gupta-owned ANN7 and The New Age are reportedly upbeat following news of a takeover by former government spin doctor Mzwanele Manyi. – News24