Parade/Thomson House sold

Ngoni Chanakira

THOMSON Publications (Pvt) Ltd has sold its flagship Parade magazine and Thomson House head office for $2,6 billion.



“>An unnamed consortium of indigenous entrepreneurs is understood to have snapped up Parade magazine in a deal thought to be worth $1 billion, while another group bought Thomson House for $1,6 billion.


Parade was Thomson’s flagship magazine which closed shop earlier this year because of financial problems caused by escalating newsprint prices and production costs as well as dwindling advertising support.


The Thomson stable also includes Zimbabwe Summer, Mining in Zimbabwe and Mine Buyer’s Guide.


CB Richard Ellis (Pvt) Ltd confirmed that Thomson House had been purchased last week. The company, however, refused to reveal the identity of the new owners or the amounts involved, citing client confidentiality clauses.


Thomson had been up for grabs for some time now with several media heavyweights eyeing the publishing concern.


Speculation was rife within the market that former Ziana boss Henry Muradzikwa had purchased the group, while others pointed to the team currently running the Financial Gazette.


Both have, however, dismissed the speculation, saying it was not profitable owning a magazine in this day and age when production costs were high while revenue – especially from advertising – has gone down.


At its peak Parade was selling more than two million copies a month making it the best selling magazine in Zimbabwe’s history.


The late business journalist and founding editor of the Standard, Mark Chavunduka, owned Thomson’s.


Chavunduka died in November 2002 shortly after taking over as chief executive officer where he had taken up a controlling stake.


In an interview with businessdigest this week, Thomson’s chairman and an uncle of the late Chavunduka, Chris Mbanga, confirmed that the company had been sold.


“I can confirm that the company has been sold,” he said. “You, however, need to understand that it was sold in two parts – the title for Parade magazine and the building. I cannot give you the exact details of the arrangement because we are still finalising everything.”