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From top (left to right): Owen Maubane (Senatla Capital founder, CEO, chair & Joe Public chair), Pepe Marais (Joe Public founding partner & group COO), Zanele Xaba (Senatla Capital strategy & operations board member), Laurent Marty (Joe Public group CSO), Xolisa Dyeshana (Joe Public COO, Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner ), Mpume Ngobese (Joe Public Connect MD & Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner) and Neil van der Weele (board member and Joe Public adviser). From bottom (left to right): Thato Tsotetsi (Senatla Capital principal), Khuthala Gala Holten (Joe Public MD and Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner) and Gareth Leck (Joe Public group CEO and founding partner). Picture: SUPPLIED
From top (left to right): Owen Maubane (Senatla Capital founder, CEO, chair & Joe Public chair), Pepe Marais (Joe Public founding partner & group COO), Zanele Xaba (Senatla Capital strategy & operations board member), Laurent Marty (Joe Public group CSO), Xolisa Dyeshana (Joe Public COO, Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner ), Mpume Ngobese (Joe Public Connect MD & Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner) and Neil van der Weele (board member and Joe Public adviser). From bottom (left to right): Thato Tsotetsi (Senatla Capital principal), Khuthala Gala Holten (Joe Public MD and Ikamva Lakusasa founding partner) and Gareth Leck (Joe Public group CEO and founding partner). Picture: SUPPLIED

Leading advertising, brand and communications group, Joe Public United, has announced that 60% of the company has been acquired by black shareholders. Joe Public United is now the largest majority black-owned, independent agency group in SA, marking a significant milestone in local advertising and marketing industry 

The deal not only benefits staff, but perfectly positions the group to achieve a long-held ambition of becoming the country’s number one communications group.

The transaction sees three senior agency executives Khuthala Gala Holten, Xolisa Dyeshana and Mpume Ngobese acquiring 26% through a newly created company, Ikamva Lakusasa, and 100% black-owned private equity investment company, Senatla Capital, buying 34%. In line with its mandate, Senatla Capital has funded a substantial portion of the acquisition by Ikamva Lakusasa. The new structure also includes a mechanism for equity to be made available, in time, to existing and future Joe Public staff. 

The remaining 40% of shareholding is retained by the current shareholders, including group CEO Gareth Leck, chief creative officer Pepe Marais and group strategic officer Laurent Marty.

Says Leck: “This is the culmination of a journey that began a long time ago and included lots of hard work and late nights in pursuit of a dream to create genuine transformation in the brand communications industry. We’re confident that the structure of the transaction allows us to authentically transform the company into a majority black-owned entity, while retaining our cherished independence and ensuring that high levels of ownership remain with the leadership team.”

Leck describes the transaction as a seminal moment in the 22-year-old agency’s history. “Khuthala, Xolisa and Mpume have all made a huge and valued contribution in growing Joe Public United into the agency group it has become.”

Senatla Capital was founded by CEO Owen Maubane, in 2010 with the mission of investing capital in SA companies and helping to transform the economy. He says: “Senatla seeks to foster a culture of excellence, integrity and a commitment to transformation. Joe Public is a leader and innovator in the media and advertising space, led by an exceptional and visionary team, and we see Senatla as being able to provide a catalyst to accelerate its future growth.”

Maubane now becomes the agency group chair. 

“Over the years we have been approached by numerous internationally owned advertising and consultancy groups who have wanted to invest in Joe Public United,” says Leck. “But based on our firm belief in the power of independence, of being a South African-owned entity, and of having our leadership team with vested interests and ownership in the company, all of these offers were rejected. When we were approached by Senatla we knew we had found the right partner to create the optimum ownership structure.”  

Joe Public MD Gala Holten, who also forms part of Ikamva Lakusasa, says: “Xolisa and I have been with Joe Public for 15 years, and Mpume has been here for seven years, and we are steeped in its culture. We not only look forward to being part of the group’s exciting new growth path, but also to being part of the transformation process in this industry and opening the way for more black ownership in business.”

This article was paid for by Joe Public United.

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