By now readers of IM will be familiar with printing, packaging and latterly education counter Novus Holdings. But back in April 2021 the old Paarl Media, renamed Novus, was down on its luck. It was an analogue company in a digital age, and investors spurned the counter.

But activist investor A² Investment Partners viewed Novus differently. It saw a stock trading at a huge discount to its NAV, stuffed full of cash, yet having dribbled down to 80c a share. A² — headed by former Hosken Consolidated Investments executive and former KWV CEO André van der Veen — swooped in...

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