It is now not news anymore, all that is left is for shareholders of Observer Media to put pen to paper accepting to be acquired by NBS TV under its Next Media Group. This will launch Next Media as one of Uganda’s leading media groups.
Although originally poised to focus on the electronic spectrum, NBS will now be expanding its arm length into the print media, an industry that many analysts have written off. Some of the brands under Next Media include Sanyuka TV, Salaam TV, Nile Post and Next communications just to mention but a few.
On 2nd Tuesday January 2017, the Observer big wigs were locked in a meeting with the heads at NBS TV. Among the things discussed was the due diligence report that was conducted in November 2017 to ascertain the true worth of Observer media. The final draft agreement was also discussed without much opposition from either sides. Among those present were lawyers for both companies.
According to a reliable source at Next Media, Observer was valued at UGX 4.8 billion shillings both in assets and brand equity. Next Media will inherit all Observer’s debts and credit portfolios. Of the 4.8 billion shillings, three quarters will be paid off in actual cash while the rest will be given to the Observer owners as part shares in Next Media.
In the past one year Observer Media has struggled to keep up with the hasty industry, down-sizing some of its staff and cutting back from a tri-weekly to a weekly. Observer’s circulation currently stands at 6000 copies per issue, the copy sales are even much less.
To many, this presents the great opportunity for both sides as Next Media positions itself ready to challenge Nation Media and Vision Groups while Observer gets to have new management to propel it to the next level.
However some owners at Observer have not welcomed the buy-out according to our snoops. “They fear a repeat of what happened when Nation Media Group acquired Monitor. They know even if they keep their jobs, it will be a matter of time before new management pushes them out. But they have no option, they either collapse or they sell.”
In the past, various companies have tried to acquire Observer. These have included William Pike, KTN and another media group based in South Africa. This could be another final try for Observer. According to our source who was part of the closed meeting, March 16th will be the day the signatures will be appended on the agreement. It will be a Friday, the public announcement will then be made on the following Monday.
NBS TV and the entire Next Media will then shift from Media Plaza to Tagore Crescent in a space of 5 months that have been specified as the transition phase. We must say, this could be the biggest announcement of 2018.