Newspaper publishing and printing group Caxton has agreed to pay R102,5m for the 32,7% of FoneWorx held by a trust controlled by the Kirsh family, ending a dispute between the trust and management of the JSE-listed fax-to-e-mail specialist.
The Kirsh family trust — led by Primedia founder Issie Kirsh and former Primedia CEO William Kirsh — have been locked in a dispute with FoneWorx management for months over a deal that would have resulted in the Kirsh-controlled Value+ Nettwork being merged with FoneWorx to create a new, R478m company.
Accusations flew thick and fast between both parties after FoneWorx reportedly discovered that financial figures at Value+ business, Opengate, had been revised and that the business needed much more investment than previously disclosed.
The fallout intensified, with the board of FoneWorx last month declaring a dispute with the Kirsh family, accusing them a “hostile, inappropriate and mischievous attempt to discredit a well-managed company” in order to control FoneWorx and its cash reserves, Business Day reported. The public fallout followed the Kirsh family’s vote of no confidence over the “lack of corporate governance and strategy” of two of the company’s nonexecutive directors.
On Monday, FoneWorx told shareholders that the transaction with Value+ Nettwork had been “terminated by mutual consent” and that “all disputes between the company, Value+ and the Isaac and William Kirsh Family Trusts have been resolved”.
“The Kirsh family’s stake in the company, comprising of 44,5m shares, has been acquired by Caxton and CTP Printers & Publishers Limited with effect from 30 May 2013 for a purchase consideration of R102,5m and based on a per share price of the company of R2,30.”
FoneWorx’s share price was unchanged at R1,85 shortly after it disclosed the deal to shareholders. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media