News Ltd finds buyer for Fiji Times

News Ltd has revealed that it has found a buyer for its forced sale of the Fiji Times.   

The annoucement:

News Limited today announced that it has reached agreement to sell Pacific Publications (Fiji) Limited, the parent company of the publisher of the Fiji Times to Fiji’s Motibhai & Company Limited for an undisclosed sum.

The sale is subject to final regulatory approval in Fiji with the expected closing date for the sale on 22 September.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Motibhai & Company Limited is Mr Mahendra Motibhai Patel CBE, a prominent Fijian businessman, who has previously served on the Board of the Fiji Times as a non-executive director.

News Limited’s chairman and chief executive Mr John Hartigan said the sale to Motibhai represented the best possible outcome for the staff, advertisers and readers of the Fiji Times.

Under a media decree, News Limited was given until 28 September to divest all but 10 per cent of its interest in the Fiji Times, the country’s leading newspaper group.

“We are reluctant sellers of the Fiji Times, but I am delighted that we have been able to find a buyer who will take over the business as a going concern, respect its heritage and invest in its future,” Hartigan said.

“I have known Mahendra Patel for many years. His past contribution as a director of the Fiji Times has been invaluable. I am therefore very pleased that the Motibhai Group has decided to purchase the business.

“Motibhai will be very good custodians of the newspaper and as shareholders they will be committed to the future of the Fiji Times.

“I particularly want to thank the directors and staff of the Fiji Times for their hard work and loyalty; and for their personal as well as professional commitment to the organisation especially during the many changes and challenges of recent years. Motibhai is very fortunate to be inheriting such a dedicated and talented workforce,” said Mr Hartigan.

On the acquisition of the Fiji Times, the Motibhai Group said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid.”

“This purchase expresses our confidence in the future of Fiji. We will ensure that Fiji Times will operate as an independent unit within the Motibhai Group.

“We understand the importance of history. The Fiji Times is 142 years old and Motibhai has been operating for 80 years. Together we will take the Fiji Times to new levels of success as we have done with our other major investments.

“We will ensure that the Fiji Times continues to be the preferred daily newspaper by the vast majority of Fiji’s population and live by the adage “the day is not complete until you have read the Fiji Times”.

Source: News Ltd press release


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