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Thomsons assets on sale

Ngoni Chanakira

LEADING trade and social magazine publisher, Thomsons Publications (Pvt) Ltd, is disposing of movable and immovable assets, including its prestigious headquarters, Thomson House.

While the total value of the assets could not be established this week, the three-storey building situated at the corner of Harare Street and Speke Avenue, is believed to be worth $3 billion.

However, the owners have reduced this figure and are asking for offers around $1,8 billion.

Thomsons was owned by the late business journalist and founding editor of the Standard, Mark Chavunduka. He had once edited Parade, Thomsons’ flagship publication.

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

In an interview with businessdigest this week, Thomsons chairman and an uncle to the late Chavunduka, Chris Mbanga, confirmed that the company was up for grabs.

“We are definitely scaling down operations and are selling everything,” he said. “We are selling movable and immovable property owned by the company. We are also selling the titles of our magazines separately because we believe they are worth a substantial amount.”

CB Richard Ellis are the selling agents for Thomson House.

The building is situated in Harare on a site area of 595 square metres in an area of building amounting to 4 500 square metres.

The agents say it has a potential annual income of $550 million.

At its peak under Chavunduka’s editorship, Parade had a readership of two million.

Thomsons has since stopped publishing the magazine as well as three others, citing escalating production costs.

The Thomsons stable currently includes Parade, Zimbabwe Summer,Mining in Zimbabwe and Mine Buyer’s Guide.

At its peak, Thomsons was publishing virtually all the nation’s trade magazines such as the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce’s monthly magazine, Zimbabwe Tobacco Today, and various insurance publications.

Also up for grabs in Harare’s central business district are Lister Building for about $3,5 billion and Fanum House for $3,7 billion.

Lister is an eight-storey commercial building, while Fanum House on Samora Machel Avenue is situated in the heart of Harare’s financial district and also has eight storeys.

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