Media analyst and veteran editor Anton Harber says Mzwanele Manyi purchase of Gupta-owned ANN7 and The New Age is unlikely to have been about money.
Manyi is buying the newspaper and and television news network for a combined R450 million through a vendor financing agreement.
Harber believes that the acquisition is a strategic move to advance specific political interests.
He explains that the Gupta's never profited from The New Age or ANN7, but rather gained tenders and other deals with government associates.
They set up the New Age and ANN7 largely to ingratiate themselves with their friends and allies in government.— Prof Anton Harber, Veteran editor and Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University
They knew they might lose money, but that they would reciprocally - from the state, government and allies - get deals, tenders and opportunities that would outweigh the cost of the operations.— Prof Anton Harber, Veteran editor and Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University
Harber says that Manyi's political position is aligned with that of the Gupta family.
He doubts that the new ownership will introduce change or transformation in the media space, as Manyi has suggested.
He says R450 million seems a high price to pay for a business that is most likely losing money, with an unconventional and unsustainable business model.
It's not about money, it's a role to be played in the factional disputes of the ANC that are taking place.— Prof Anton Harber, Veteran editor and Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University
Take a listen to his analysis: