What a miserable thing Novus’s life as a listed company has been. Of course it was never supposed to list. Listing was the only option available to it after Caxton persuaded the Competition Commission in 2014 that there had been a change of control at Novus.

The change of control, according to Caxton, occurred when former CEO Lambert Retief decided he wanted to retire and cash out his shares. At the time Naspers’s Media24 owned 80% of Novus, which was then called Paarl Media. The obvious purchaser was Naspers. It seemed an unremarkable transaction until Caxton persuaded the commission that, given Retief’s previous ability to direct the company, the transaction amounted to a change of control.At the time it seemed likely Caxton would use the opportunity of a Competition Commission investigation into the change of control to ensure considerable scrutiny of Naspers’s opaque control structure. Ironically, that opacity is now the focus of much international analyst scrutiny as Nasp...

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