Dr Iqbal Surve, chairman of Sekunjalo.Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Johannesburg - Two companies have expressed interest in acquiring the news agency operations of the SA Press Association, the Sapa board announced on Tuesday.

“The board of directors of the South African Press Association confirms that it has in the past 24 hours received formal expressions of interest, in taking over or participating in the acquisition of the editorial content production operations of the news agency, from the following two entities: Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and KMM Review Publishing,” the board said in a statement.

“These expressions of interest, along with the previously confirmed formal proposals already tabled by Gallo Images - on the envisaged restructuring of Sapa from its current non-profit business model to a commercial footing - will be carefully assessed at a special meeting of directors which will be held soon,” the board said.

The latest development came after Gallo Images announced in July that it was doing a due diligence process into the possibility of acquiring Sapa and commercialising it from its current non-profit business model.

Gallo Images made a presentation to the Sapa board earlier in August on how the news agency could become part of its operations; and that presentation was now being considered by the board.

Times Media Group withdrew its membership from Sapa last year, with Caxton following suit in July, and Independent Newspapers planning to withdraw from November this year.

“This left the current operational model needing revision. The board then decided it needed to try find a new home for Sapa, with the board receiving enquiries from other organisations, with some of them being based overseas,” the Sapa board said in a statement in July.

Media24 remains a Sapa board member.

The withdrawal of the membership by the other three media houses did not mean withdrawal as subscribers to the Sapa service.

Independent Newspapers and Caxton will remain on as Sapa subscribers.

TMG's digital platforms also remain subscribers.

The board said on Tuesday it could not comment further on the matter.

“It would clearly be inappropriate for Sapa or its board to make any further comments on the process at this stage,” the board said. - Sapa