It is now emerging that His Highness the Aga Khan is willing to sell shares worth Ksh 4.5 billion for his 44.7per cent stake in the Nation Media Group (NMG), which President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family is eyeing.
Based on the Nation’s current price of Sh102, Aga Khan’s 84, 198, 343 shares are valued at Ksh8.5 billion, which could mean NMG’s principal shareholder may not sell out entirely but share off just half of what he owns in the leading media house.
The Ksh4.5 billion is likely to amount to about 22 per cent of the NMG stake, which then gives Nation Media Group a market capitalisation of about Ksh 18 billion. According to sources familiar with initial negotiations between the two parties, the Aga Khan is determined to sell his shareholding for a premium price on account of, among others, NMG’s clean balance sheet.
“He argues Nation is a top performer in the media and has no loan on its books hence he will not dispose his shares for anything less than Ksh4.5 billion,” a source intimated to Business Today.
As previously reported, the Kenyatta family and other tycoons from Central Kenya are planning to sell their stake in Mediamax Network Ltd – the company that owns K24 TV, Kameme TV, People Daily and a host of radio stations – and are instead interested in buying into NMG.
Deputy President William Ruto, who already has shares in Mediamax, is set to increase his investment by buying a controlling stake in the company, which would see him take charge of K24 and People Daily in addition to the Kalenjin language-broadcasting Emo FM. Plans are also afoot to set up a Kalenjin TV station by a similar name.
A share of NMG was selling at Ksh 104 at Friday’s trading on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). It has dropped from a high of Ksh125 in the last one year.
The investors, who are said to include Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi, are expected to conclude discussions on the sale when the Aga Khan visits the country this month.
Initially, they had set their eyes on the Standard Group, whose main shareholders are former President Moi’s family and businessman Joshua Kulei, but the plan came to bits after Baringo Senator Gideon Moi put the asking price at Ksh 3.5 billion.
There was a hefty bank loan that had not been declared. The money was used to offset the 2016 staff rationalisation programme and then, there was a long list of litigation cases filed by employees who thought they had been let off wrongly,” one source told Business Today.
NMG is East Africa’s largest media house and its brands include Daily Nation, Sunday Nation, Business Daily, The Daily Monitor, Taifa Leo and The East African. The Broadcasting segment comprises of NTV, NTV Uganda and KFM.
NMG also owns Mwananchi Communications Limited Tanzania, which publishes Kiswahili papers Mwananchi daily and Mwana Spoti, a weekly all-sports newspaper and an English daily The Citizen. The Nation Carriers Division distributes its products around the country.
In 2016, the Aga Khan commissioned a new press that has accrued some benefits like Richer menu of exclusive print advertising formats for diverse advertising targets 80 pages, all with 4 colors that is efficient and cost effective.
The Colorman e:line (4-1 series) printing press manufactured by Manroland Web Systems in Germany has the ability to churn out up to 86,000 copies per hour. It is the fastest newspaper press in its class, offering best print quality and best-in-class automation.