Tag Archive 'Koos Bekker'

Mar 12 2012

Koos was right on this one…

Published by under More News,South Africa

…back in 1998. For those journalists in Cape Town who still don’t want to believe (and I’m sure there are still a few), here is something to chew on.


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Jan 30 2012

The world according to Koos

Published by under Top Stories

Here’s a nice read. It’s fresh from Davos. And it features Koos Bekker, the boss of Naspers.


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Mar 30 2011

Of state-owned papers, the web and revolutions

Published by under Opinion,South Africa,Top Stories

I get the impression South Africa is finally waking up to the internet. It took so long, I wrote the country off as “essentially non-digital” in 2009 (here and here). But, I might have been wrong – there may still be (digital) life down there after all.  [Read on]

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Oct 05 2009

And what about transparency in big companies?

Published by under Companies,More News

I’m back on this issue of information dissemination and transparency. Sorry, for boring you. But, as far as I’m concerned, the danger lurking behind it is (in the long-term) on a par with the danger which emanated from the financial sector for the world economy in the years before 2008**.

I’m referring to the duty of listed companies to inform the public of what they are doing. And the games some multinationals play when it comes to this “duty to disclose”.

Stock exchanges say their listed companies must publish all information of “wesenlike belang”. Fine. But, it’s over to those companies to interpret “wesenlike belang” and boy, do these interpretations run amok!

Some say, when the CEO of a major subsidiary in Europe resigns, it is of “wesenlike belang” and a press release has to go out. Others don’t. Some lose R500 million and say it’s not important enough to tell the shareholders. Others lose R1 million and release a long statement.

What is “wesenlik” varies from company to company, depending on their sizes and who is at their helms.

When companies operate in countries with strange languages, the definition of what needs to be communicated to the outside world, gets even fuzzier. What is easier for a SA listed company than to do business in eastern Europe and never release any information in English about what it does there? The local media may report, but the news seldom make it out of the country. And the JSE doesn’t have the foggiest…

In short, the issue of information dissemination is a thorny one – and open to manipulation.

Naspers is right up there when it comes to “playing around” with this duty to inform. It always moves in the grey area, releasing only the bare minimum and then immediately withdrawing behind high walls when asked for more. Yes, it’s quite ironic, that a company which started out as a “house of journalists” should now be so shy when it comes to disseminating information.

I was reminded again of this truth, when reading this article by Reuters. (It’s about Naspers wanting to extend a $800 million loan by 2 years from 2011 to 2013….pretty important, I’ll say. Why isn’t there anything about it on the Naspers portal under “Media Centre”?)

I refer here to Naspers, but I’m sure what is true here, is true for many big companies out there.

There are, of course, also the exceptions. And, I’m proud to say, some of the best big companies (in this regard) are also SA-linked. Take, for instance, SABMiller, the 2nd biggest beer company in the world.

In my experience, this is a multinational which takes its duty to inform seriously! A quick glance at the SABMiller and Naspers corporate websites confirms this view. The one is lively, packed with news and efforts to build a positive image. The other is static, thin on press releases and reminds of a history lesson.

So far this year Naspers has published nine press releases, including one on the Paarl fire and one on prizes awarded by Ton Vosloo. Between 23 September 2009 and 5 October 2009 (a period of 12 days) SABMiller published exactly the same number of press releases – nine.

If a multinational company such as Naspers (working flat-out to internationalize) adhered to the JSE and LSE rules on disclosure with nine press releases over nine months, then the JSE and LSE rules are too slack.

** The bankers have done their bit to rubbish the image of the free market; non-transparent, arrogant company bosses may still push the world economy into the arms of the socialists.

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Sep 26 2008

Naspers’ roundabout way into big-time search

Published by under Companies

First published on my old blog on 5/8/2008.  

If this post on Russian blog Quintura.com is anything to go by, Naspers’ new “partner” in Russian portal Mail.ru could just turn out to be a lucky break for Naspers in Russia. [Read on]

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Sep 17 2008

When Johann takes on Koos

Published by under Companies

First published on my old blog on 1/7/2008. 

This morning the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) carried an article about a decision of a French court, which might be of interest to the people at Naspers and will definitely be of interest to the people at Richemont.  [Read on]

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