A dogged scrap by a few dissenting shareholders has dragged niche technology business Cognition Holdings back into the public view. Cognition, previously known as Foneworx, has morphed from its (diminishing) core in the fax-to-e-mail market to a data analytics specialist for large fast-moving consumer goods players. In a new thrust, its controlling shareholder, Caxton & CTP Publishers & Printers, will inject into Cognition (in exchange for more scrip) its 50.1% stake in the online real-estate platform Private Property. The R127m deal is a potential game-changer, with Cognition holding a market capitalisation of just R176m. Last week Cognition hosted a general meeting to vote on the proposed Private Property transaction. Bafflingly, no fewer than five Cognition directors were absent — including CEO Mark Smith and nonexecutive chair Ashvin Mancha (who were both ill). There were calls from outraged dissident shareholders – William Kirsh (the founder of Primedia) as well as shareholder ...

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