Sunday, August 17, 2008

FMTech: Branko Brkic's Maverick up for sale

Branko Brkic, owner-publisher of Maverick and Empire magazines, is looking for a buyer with deep enough pockets to take over Business Century, the company he started two years ago. Among those he has approached is Avusa, which owns 50% of the Financial Mail. Group CEO Prakash Desai confirmed this.

Brkic's move has sparked reports that the company is in financial trouble again. Investment group Mvelaphanda Holdings acquired a majority shareholding in Business Century to bail out the Yugoslav-born Brkic, who founded the company with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) funding.

Mvela executive director Mark Willcox denies the company is in trouble, saying it's been in talks with several media groups following a decision to "inject" Business Century into a bigger company. "A publishing company is difficult to sustain with only two publications."

Last year, low-cost airline dumped Maverick as its in-flight magazine, cutting its circulation by half and affecting its advertising revenue. Is offloading the stable a possibility? "We would prefer not," says Willcox, though he admits it might if the price is right.

The IDC has been criticised for pouring money into a saturated publishing industry. But spokesman Basil Ford says: "We continue to believe in media as a sector [and in] supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, promoting economic diversity and facilitating job creation."

He refused to comment on whether or not Business Century had settled its debt with the corporation. Brkic did not return our calls.  — Matebello Motloung

And the comment below too:

Bronwen Kausch

This is a sad day for South Africa. Love it or hate it, Maverick changed the South African publishing landscape. It was great to see journos push harder, question more and deliver their own thoughts without fear. A couple of months after its launch, we noticed a visible improvement in other publications, which I genuinely believe can be attributed to Maverick's reception in the marketplace. I really hope whomever buys it will at least try keep some of the publication's ethos in tact.

The above is courtesy of FMTech:

In my countless dealings with as many editors, journalists, media owners and publishers over many years, I have never in my opinion met a more principled man than Branko Brkic; he has integrity.

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1 comment:

B said...

Hey Charles! Found your blog entirely by accident (if there is such a dull thing). Last time we spoke you were heading north to revamp a house in WVB and I was heading East to build one where the Drakensburg meets the Maluti's ... that was not long after Wits MA Creative Writing 2006 ... Good to see you made it !!

My rather untended blog is

Love to catch up one day.

Go well, stay well.