London – November 27, 2000: Sportal and Johnnic e-Ventures, today announced that the online arm of the Johnnic group, and the Sunday Times (SA) has acquired 30% of Sportal South Africa ( for R12m, in a groundbreaking deal that weds the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ economies.

Johnnic is the largest media group in Africa, publishing the SA Sunday Times, Business Day, the Financial Mail and also operates MTN, one of the continent’s largest mobile networks, with additional interests in DSTV (Digital Satellite Television).

Under the terms of the deal, the Sunday Times will provide promotional and advertising support off page and on its website to Sportal to drive traffic, while JeV will provide cash and will make Sportal the exclusive sports zone within the Ananzi search portal site, one of the region’s most trafficked sites.

Sportal SA will also become the exclusive sports provider for the Johnnic newspaper group, the first time that an online company has produced the complete sports content for a major newspaper group.

‘This agreement with Johnnic really brings together the best elements of ‘old’ and ‘new’ media companies,’ says Rob Hersov, CEO and Founder of Sportal, ‘Sportal is able to provide top class interactive sports content, with access to a global network of contributors, while Johnnic provides Sportal with an unrivalled promotional package.’

The deal will enable both JeV and the Sunday Times to enhance their sports content offering, which research shows as one of the most visited content categories on the Web.

JeV and the Sunday Times will each acquire a 15% shareholding in Sportal. Sportal UK and listed sports management group Sail will retain the remaining 70% stake in the site.

The deal will enable JeV and the Sunday Times to reduce content production costs, while Sportal will be able to boost its profile through massive print and online promotion.

Johnnic group CEO, Paul Edwards, said the Sportal deal was an important strategic plank in Johnnic’s online platform.

‘We are already a major player in various online categories, notably business, search, news and careers. Through our publications, we’re a major producer of sports news. Thus this acquisition is a natural extension of our content offering.’

‘What is unique is that we are tying so-called ‘new’ and ‘old’ economy businesses into the same deal. This is in line with our strategy of integration of our businesses at every level.’

JeV CEO Neil Jacobsohn said Ananzi was steadily increasing its partnerships with the best content and service providers in the market. ‘We’re looking to give the user access to content and functionality that can meet their needs, no matter where that content resides, thereby living up to our positioning of ‘Find It Fast’,’ he said.

The tie-up will see JeV tap into Sportal’s extensive infrastructure of sports editors and columnists throughout South Africa and internationally. Under this agreement, Sportal will provide extensive multi-media coverage of virtually all sports.

For further information contact:

Johnnic e-Ventures
Neil Jacobsohn
Tel (011) 280 0600
Mobile: 083 250 0721

Mark Thursfield
Tel 0207 350 4825
Mobile 07780 991975