Chairperson of media group Independent Media and the head of Sekunjalo, Iqbal Surve gives evidence during the judicial commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation on April 02 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PHILL MAGAKOE
Chairperson of media group Independent Media and the head of Sekunjalo, Iqbal Surve gives evidence during the judicial commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation on April 02 2019. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/PHILL MAGAKOE

Independent Media chair Iqbal Survé says his Sagarmatha Technologies business would probably have had a valuation of $10bn (R142bn) in New York if its listing went ahead.

In early 2018, Sagarmatha's listing on the JSE — along with a mooted listing in New York — was scuppered by its failure to submit financial statements on time.

At the time, Sagarmatha was eyeing a market valuation of R49.7bn, which would have thrust it firmly into the JSE’s top 40 index.

Sagarmatha's assets included African News Agency, online retailer Loot, Independent Online and Sagarmatha Enterprise Solutions. Proceeds from the group’s failed listing would have been used to buy Sekunjalo Independent Media, which controls Independent Newspapers.

Analysts said Sagarmatha's valuation ambitions were overly ambitious.

But Survé told the commission of inquiry into the affairs of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) on Tuesday that Sagarmatha could have been worth $10bn if a listing in New York had gone ahead.

That would make it larger than Absa Group.

He said the group was still eyeing a listing in New York. It had asked the SA Reserve Bank for approvals in December.

The proceeds of a listing would be used to distribute African content globally, he said.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za