The Cygma Group has in principal agreed to sell its share of Sheqafrica.com to the Africa Media Group (AMG) after receiving a bid on Friday the 13th of April 2018. The unsolicited offer came as a total surprise for the company, who have been pumping large amounts of cash into the publication after its take-over in May 2016.
A Source close to the Exco of the publication told Sheqafrica.com that the offer was delivered by email late Friday night from the owner of AMG, and was accepted within an hour. The source however did not disclose the offer amount, but said it was enough to break even after the 2 year struggle.
The AMG, who also runs other online magazines are embarking on a major market drive into Africa, particularly the SADC market.
Sheqafrica.com can report that Cygma CEO, Rudy Maritz confirmed the offer and acceptance saying that it will open a great opportunity for small businesses to promote their services. “We tried to promote the SHEQ industry since we took the site over from Advantage ACT in May 2016, but sales were not what we expected. Previous attempts to sell the magazine failed and we were totally surprised by the AMG offer. We just could not let it pass.” Maritz said.
The impact of the sale on Sheqafrica.com readers would be minimal according to Maritz. “The publication will not deviate from content. It would just stop being exclusive to the SHEQ industry from an advertising and marketing perspective. We have seen the first 7 years of Sheqafrica.com being limited to the promotion of Advantage ACT, with very little support from other consultants. When we funded De Novo to buy it from Ben Fouché, we hoped to attract more advertisers and get return on investment, but there seems to have been no interest in anything they offered. I do believe that AMG will open up the advertising to anyone and anybody who wants to tap into the SHEQ Supply chain. After two years only two companies, IRCA Global and the Riskcom Group supported us with long term advertising commitments. The balance of contributors was Blue Risk and CHSEMS, who owns 50% of Sheqafrica.com. Even our own minority shareholders never made any noteworthy contributions. I have been waiting for an opportunity to get out of SHEQ. This is it.” Maritz explained the reason for accepting the AMG offer.
Sheqafrica.com has seen a linear decline in reader numbers since it introduced its paid subscription services in an attempt to attract more quality contributions. It is however unlikely to change as AMG already indicated its intention to continue to provide paid content to subscribers. For now, we will just have to get used to the new look.
Sheqafrica.com shareholding currently is 50/50 between Shane Lishman, CEO of CHSEMS(Pty)Ltd and Africa Media Group. The AMG portion is split among the various publishers within the Group, the major shareholders being SABizonline and MyCommunity Magazines, having an 80% stake in AMG. AMG strategy is to develop online communities to promote entrepreneurship and online media within the Southern African continent. One such project was started a few months ago, as a trial in Namibia, to replicate the success of Sheqafrica.com. Known as the Africa Project, Sheqafrica.com will be fragmented in smaller localised magazines, each serving the specific needs of the country of publication.