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Ackman’s Pershing Square in talks to buy 10% of Universal Music
4 June 2021, 11:01 AM

Billionaire William Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is in talks to buy 10% of Universal Music Group (UMG) for around $4 billion, the label’s owner Vivendi confirmed on Friday.

Vivendi, controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, is planning to cash in on its UMG crown jewel, the world’s biggest music label with artists such as Taylor Swift, by spinning off the entity to existing shareholders. Vivendi said the deal with Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) would give UMG an enterprise value of 35 billion euros ($42.4 billion).

“Universal Music Group is one of the greatest businesses in the world,” Bill Ackman, CEO of PSTH, said in a joint statement.

Vivendi shares were up 0.7% in early trading. Pershing Square Tontine Holding’s shares were down nearly 6% at $23.5 a share in after-market trade, close to its initial public offering (IPO) price of $20 after news of the potential deal broke. The closer that SPAC shares trade to their IPO price, the more sceptical investors are that a deal will be completed.

SPACs such as Pershing Square Tontine raise money in an initial public offering with the aim of merging with a private company. For the private company, the process is an alternative to listing its shares through an IPO.
Nearly a year ago, in July 2020, Pershing Square raised $4billion in what was the biggest IPO by a blank-check firm.
Guggenheim Investments, hedge fund The Baupost Group, and Wells Capital Management are among the biggest investors in Pershing Square Tontine.

Universal Music is majority-owned by French media giant Vivendi, which last month said the equity of the music label was worth 33 billion euros ($40 billion), or more than the market value of the parent company. Tencent Holdings owns a roughly 20% stake in Universal.

Vivendi has been exploring taking Universal public, including through a traditional IPO.

In documents released ahead of Vivendi’s general meeting scheduled in June, Vivendi said that Universal was drawing interest from potential investors and that it could sell some of its stake to a “strategic partner” ahead of the distribution of universal’s shares.

At the time, Vivendi said it intended to keep at least a 10%stake in the company for a long period of time.

“Universal Music is a business that can be valued without speculating about it having a future,” said Erik Gordon, a professor of business at the University of Michigan.

“The terms of the Tontine SPAC also are better than the terms of most SPACs.”

Polokwane community group demands school nutrition tender, spills learners’ food
4 June 2021, 10:15 AM

Limpopo’s Education department has condemned the spilling of learners’ food at several schools in the Mankweng area, east of Polokwane.

A group calling itself Business Forum, allegedly spilled school nutrition food for the learners as it is demanding tenders to supply food.

The images of the spilled food have been circulating on social media.

The Business Forum is yet to comment.

Department Spokesperson, Tidimalo Chuene, says it is worrying that the incidents happened during Child Protection Week.

“Quite a sad experience that this is happening during the Child Protection Week and we should be very worried if we have such people in our communities; people who can go to a point of spilling food that children are expecting to eat. The forum was engaged by the representatives from the department earlier in the month and they were advised on how they can do business with the schools and that’s why we are appalled and condemn in the strongest possible terms their recent actions,” says Chuene.


Public sector wage talks to resume on Friday
4 June 2021, 9:30 AM

Crucial wage talks between the government and public sector unions are set to resume on Friday.

Unions will be giving feedback on their members’ response to the offer of a 1.5% salary increase tabled by government in May.

However, it appears as if many unions need more time to consult their members because of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Time is of the essence, however, it’s important that organisations touch base with members to ensure that whatever is going to be presented is a reflection of what the workers are saying,” says Mugwena Maluleke, COSATU Public Sector Unions Convener.

Public sector unions to resume wage negotiations on Friday

While it is nowhere near the 7% increase that the unions have demanded, economists have described  government’s move as sensible.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has previously stated that the public services sector should not be excluded from wage increases as government had allowed for some State-Owned Enterprises and Parliamentary workers to receive salary hikes.

Public-sector unions still mulling over government’s 1.5% wage increase offer





Mkhize to respond to allegations of his involvement with Digital Vibes
4 June 2021, 7:01 AM

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize will be appearing before Parliament’s Health Committee on Friday morning to respond to allegations of his involvement in the irregular Digital Vibes contract.

Video: Mkhize to appear before Parliament’s Health Committee on Friday

Chairpersons in the National Assembly, Cedrick Frolick, confirmed to SABC News that Mkhize will appear before the Committee.

Cedric Frolick says he approved a Committee request for Mkhize to appear before the Health Committee on Monday morning.

Pressure has been mounting that President Cyril Ramaphosa should act against Mkhize following his latest admission that the awarding of a R150-million tender to communications company, Digital Vibes was irregular.

The tender was for services related to the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme and government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frolick says a virtual meeting with Mkhize and the Health Parliamentary Committee will take place at 8AM on Friday.

Corruption allegations | Alleged irregular contract between the health department & Digital Vibes

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa has assured South Africans that he will thoroughly deal with allegations that Mkhize personally benefitted from the Digital Vibes tender.

Answering questions at a meeting with the media in Parliament on Thursday,  Ramphosa reiterated that the matter is receiving attention and that he will respond once the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has completed its investigation.

“These are matters that obviously have to be looked at. I have said I would like this process to ensue and would like people to believe and trust that I am handling this matter and will handle it to finality because it is concerning,” says Ramaphosa.

President Ramaphosa awaits SIU report on Digital Vibes irregular tender allegations

ActionSA accuses the IEC of soliciting donations for political parties
2 June 2021, 7:31 PM

Herman Mashaba’s political party, ActionSA has accused the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) of soliciting donations for political parties through the Multi-Party Democracy Fund.

The Fund was established in terms of the Political Party Funding Act, which came into effect in April this year. It’s aimed at raising and distributing funds donated from the private sector to represented political parties.

Just two months after its implementation, the Multi-Party Democracy Fund is under scrutiny. ActionSA claims that the IEC is in violation of its Constitutional obligations with regards to the fund. It accuses the commission of actively raising funds for the fourteen political parties in the National Assembly and excluding political parties like ActionSA, that can only be represented after the 2024 national elections.

“ActionSA has written to the IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo and Deputy CEO Masego Sheburi to demand that the IEC’s fundraising for the multi-party democracy fund be ceased immediately. The IEC made the startling confession that it has been actively soliciting funds for the 14 political parties that are represented in the National Assembly, who already received billions in public funding every year from taxpayers. It is intolerable that the IEC activities perpetuate the status quo in politics especially when South Africans are being failed so fundamentally,” says ActionSA spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni.

Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA accuses IEC of soliciting donations for political parties

Earlier this year, the IEC indicated that it was taking measures to promote the Fund. The Fund is critical to combat corruption, by requiring political parties and donors to be transparent.

“Democracy is expensive and the fiscus alone cannot provide complete financial support to political parties especially under the current severe fiscal constraints. To ensure we continue to enjoy a vibrant, thriving and robust multiparty democracy we hope that this Fund will provide an easy and “Hands off” channel through which corporate entities, individuals and other organisations can contribute funds to parties without having to engage directly with them or needing to declare these separately,” says IEC vice-chairperson Janet Love.

The party has since written to the commission’s CEO and Deputy CEO, demanding that the fund ceases with immediate effect and that money deposited be returned to the donors.

ActionSA has given the IEC until this Friday to respond to their demands or else they will take the matter to court. Meanwhile, the commission is mum on the matter and says it will comment at a later stage.




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