He bagged the building that housed The New Age newspaper for R29.5 million at Wednesday’s auction. Noormohamed said he was representing a consortium that owned several community newspapers and Glow TV.
Late last year, the consortium had tried to buy the Guptas’ media empire, which included The New Age newspaper and news channel ANN7, for R600m.
These attempts happened before former head of government communications Mzwanele Manyi “obtained” The New Age and ANN7 in a R450m vendor-financing deal with the Guptas.
Yesterday, Noormohamed’s consortium could only buy The New Age building, and not the prized TV equipment.
Auctioneer Clive Lazarus said only movable assets of the defunct newspaper and the building, owned by another liquidated Gupta-owned company, Islandsite Investments 180, were being auctioned. Islandsite Investments 180 was one of companies the Gupta family put on business rescue earlier this year.
“At this moment our instructions were not to dispose of the equipment belonging to ANN7. It is a separate company,” Lazarus said.
Other assets auctioned included cameras, laptops, office furniture and equipment, printers, photocopiers and a diesel generator. Ironically, none of the auctioned assets belonged to companies belonging to Manyi.
Noormohamed said his consortium still sought to buy ANN7’s equipment and continue to use its studios.
“Some time back we actually offered to take over ANN7. At that time they were talking about selling it,” he said.
“We made the Guptas an offer and they gave us seven days to come up with guarantees and three days later they announced that they were selling it to our friend Manyi.
“They didn’t give us an opportunity (to buy it). Now we’re looking at possibly doing something again here subject to the studios, everything staying here,” Noormohamed said.
Asked what the consortium would do if it failed to obtain the studios, he said: “Then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. It depends on the equipment. If we don’t get the equipment, I’m not sure what we’ll do with the building.”
Noormohamed said he was not bothered by the controversial history of the building and TV studios.
“This country got a legacy (of) apartheid. We’re carrying on. These highways were built by the past regime.
"Should we worry about it? We have to move on.
“I’ve got nothing to do with the Guptas and the money is not really going to them, (but) to the creditors,” he said. “In a way, it’s good that the creditors get their money.”