Asha Speckman

The Competition Tribunal approved the takeover of the entire issued share capital of Avusa by Times Media Group (TMG) on Wednesday on condition that it will limit retrenchments at Avusa’s head office to 14 of the company’s 27 office employees.

The tribunal heard that a turnaround strategy being implemented at Avusa could lead to the retrenchments of no more than five semi-skilled people and nine skilled staff at the company’s headquarters.

The turnaround strategy to reduce head office expenditure, promote efficiencies and ensure Avusa is a more effective and competitive company is part of the rationale for the proposed takeover.

In June Mvelaphanda Group subsidiary TMG, formerly Richtrau 229, tabled an offer for Avusa at R24 a share or 1.48 shares of Richtrau for each Avusa share in a deal worth about R3 billion. Avusa shares rose 3.26 percent to R23.75 yesterday.

Avusa shareholders approved the deal last week. The company owns Sunday Times, Sowetan, Summit TV, Exclusive Books and part of Business Day Financial Mail Publishers.

The tribunal also ruled that the merging entities had to make efforts to redeploy semi-skilled workers before resorting to retrenchment.

TMG is required to provide the tribunal with a six-monthly report over the next two years on the number of head office staf retrenched, starting on February 1 next year.

The takeover is awaiting approval from Botswana and Namibian authorities.