Radio Africa Group owners have offloaded 49% of their stake to South Africa’s leading media group, Times Media Group (TMG). This gives the SA media giant a good entry point into Kenya’s bustling media sector. TMG was founded by Tokyo Sexwale and was formerly known as Johnnic Communications, then Avusa which means “to rouse feelings, to revive and evokes action.”
The deal was inked on Thursday according to RAL insiders with shareholders of RAL each letting fo of equal ratio of shares to meet the TMG 49% stake requirement. The means that RAL is still majorly owned by the previous owners.
RAL is owned by Briton William Pike, Ghanian Patrick Quarcoo (PQ…) and the Kittony family from Kenya. Details of the sale are sketchy but it is clear that Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero will still maintain his 33% stake in The Star newspaper with the other 67% still under Radio Africa Limited.
Radio Africa Group (founded in 2000) is a top Radio, TV and Newspaper Media House in East Africa. It operates top radio stations in Kenya, including Kiss FM, Radio Jambo, East FM, X-FM and Classic 105. It also owns the Kiss TV and part of The Star newspaper. Most of its radio units are known for their notoriously provocative communication that always raises eyebrows.
The Group CEO, Patrick Quarcoo is reported to have acquired a company which was formerly called Oxygen Digital TV Limited (ODTV) and now called Bomba. The company is reported to be in possession of a digital signal distribution license, a fact which CCK vehemently refutes. The sale of stake in RAL is being viewed by industry analysts as a strategic move to raise funds enough to rollout its digital TV signal distribution wing.
PQ is reported to have partnered with the moneyed “fibre boy” Joshua Chepkwony of Jamii Telecoms as he prepares to enter the digital TV market. Chepkwony is very much interested in digital broadcasting as he currently has Kass TV and Kass FM which are all equipped and ready for digital platform. Kass TV is on Zuku. He has tried to convince the local Free-to-Air TV owners like NMG, Royal Media, Media Max and Standard Group to join the Bomba platform but Nation and Royal Media are said to be very suspicious of the bait offered by PQ.
The group recently relaunched Kiss TV which targets the urban youth and employed Gaetano Kagwa as the new head of the TV, replacing Makari Kituyi who resigned. Kiss TV is said to be performing better than expected. In contrast, Kiss FM is said to be a disappointment with key indicators blinking red since Dec 2013.
The group which made Ksh 156 million in profit before taxation in 2013, plans entry into the web with key products. It was to acquire one of the local blogs, Ghafla, but the move was ditched after Ghafla investors demanded Ksh 100 million against Ksh 50 million offered by Radio Africa Group. With the new owners, sources indicate that RAL plans to bid again for Ghafla.