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CAPE TOWN - South African weekly newspaper, the Mail & Guardian has announced on Monday that it had been acquired by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), now the majority shareholder of M&G Media Limited. 

MDIF, a New York-based non-profit organisation was founded in 1996. Since then, it has invested over R2.2 billion in over 113 publications across 39 countries. 

In light of the deal, current Chief Executive Officer Hoosain Karjieker now becomes a minority shareholder of the corporation. 

“The new ownership will steady the company and provide much-needed financial stability. It will provide a strong and stable platform from which we can refocus on building our business, while safeguarding M&G’s unique blend of quality investigative journalism and balanced political coverage. I would like to underline the fact that MDIF is a not-for-profit company with a mission to support quality independent news media. Interfering in editorial is against its core principles”, says Karjieker. 

Meanwhile, M&G’s former publisher, Trevor Ncube has since left the company. 

Commenting on M&G’s affiliation with MDIF, Harlan Mandel, CEO of MDIF said: 

“MDIF has worked with M&G for more than a decade and knows the company intimately”. 

“We have invested in M&G because it is a uniquely important media organization with a great future. Its independent reporting has a profound impact on the national debate and it is a beacon for independent journalism across the continent, and indeed the world. We are committed to building on this legacy and re-establishing M&G as a commercially and journalistically dynamic institution at this important time in South African politics”, added Mandel. 

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Editor in Chief of the M&G, Khadija Patel said she was encouraged by the new acquisition. 

“As a small independent publisher, the M&G feels the turmoil of the global media industry acutely. This now presents us with a real opportunity to alleviate our financial difficulties”, said Patel. 

“It’s the beginning of an exciting chapter for the M&G”, added Patel. 

At the brink of the good news, outgoing publisher Ncube admitted the challenges that all media face in the 21st century. Ncube also said that he takes full responsibility for the mistakes made during his tenure. 

“I have always believed that the M&G should remain a pillar of the South African democracy, and it should exist well beyond any single individual or shareholder. Regrettably – much as I would have loved to - I am no longer in a position to invest in the M&G”, said Ncube. 

“Ownership of this institution is equivalent to carrying a baton that gets passed on from generation to generation with just this underlying principle: Editorial independence is sacrosanct. I have often said my role over the past 15 years has been more of a custodian of a great South African asset, than an owner.”, added Ncube. 

In a separate development, Ncube now acquires 100% of Zimbabwean media house, Alpha Media Holdings.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE