AVUSA shareholders were informed on Wednesday the Competition Tribunal had approved its buyout by Times Media Group (TMG), and that former CEO Prakash Desai had received a total pay package of R40.1m last year.
Included in the package was R19.1m paid to him as a separation package, R14.35m in share incentives gains realised, a R4.8m performance bonus, and a salary of R1.5m, Avusa’s 2012 annual report showed on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the tribunal approved TMG’s bid for media group Avusa, but on condition the merging entities would limit retrenchments to 14 workers at head office level.
Those affected include nine skilled and five semi-skilled workers out of a complement of 27, the tribunal heard on Wednesday. However, the merging entities must endeavour to redeploy the semi-skilled workers affected.
The approval by the tribunal brings the deal nearer to a close. Approval is still needed from competition authorities in Botswana and Namibia as it has operations there. No problems are expected from these two countries. No South African industry competition issues relating to the acquisition have been raised.
The ruling by the tribunal comes after TMG, an Mvelaphanda Group subsidiary formerly known as Richtrau, made an offer to Avusa shareholders.
In the deal, known as Project Pandora, TMG offered Avusa shareholders R24 per share in cash or 1.47707 shares in TMG for every one share in Avusa, or both options.
"The merged entities shall ensure that the number of retrenchments at Avusa head office, resulting from the merger, shall not exceed 14 in total, and that such number shall include no more than five semi-skilled employees for a period of two years," the Pretoria-based Competition Tribunal said.
"In addition, the merging parties shall endeavour, before retrenching any semi-skilled employee that may need to be retrenched as a result of the transaction, to redeploy any such semi-skilled head office employees as an alternative to retrenchments."
The plan to first seek alternative employment for the five semi-skilled workers, before retrenchment, came after tribunal member Yasmin Carrim asked counsel for the merging parties if these workers could not be redeployed first.
After brief deliberation counsel for the merging parties advised that they would endeavour to redeploy the semi-skilled employees.
The Competition Tribunal said that the retrenchments did not include voluntary separation arrangements, voluntary earlier retirement packages and unreasonable refusal to be redeployed.
After the acquisition of Avusa, the media group will be delisted and the executive functions will be reduced.
Avusa shares ended 0.31% up to R23.
Avusa owns 50% of BDFM Publishers, the owner of Business Day and Financial Mail.