A disturbing number of our lecturers seem to want to convince us students that their topic is the “sexiest’ one of all. Unfortunately Accounting and Disclosure has the reputation for not come close to topping that leaderboard. I have looked in vain for an article regarding disclosure with respect to benefit schemes but in my search I did come across a very interesting article regarding the disclosure of Naspers’ complicated control structure. It turns out that companies can have very convoluted ownership structures and sometimes it is difficult to determine who is really in control. Disclosure of these structures become important when things like mergers and acquisitions occur and a possible collusion or monopoly is on the cards.
About a month ago, Media24 (a subsidiary of Naspers) was going to merge with Paarl Media. However, Napers’ competitor Caxton applied to intervene in the merger application and said it was “defective due to insufficient disclosure of the direct and indirect interests of the controlling shareholders in Media24 and the Paarl Media Group”. The Competition Tribunal granted Caxton their application and ordered Media24 to submit all information regarding all firms directly and indirectly in control of Naspers. In less than a week later, Media24 and Paarl Media called off the merger. Read the following articles to decide whether or not Media24 is justified in thinking they are being made to jump through unreasonable hoops or whether Naspers wishes to avoid disclosing their true owners?
Who controls Naspers? http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-special-investigations/who-controls-naspers
Tribunal orders investigation into Naspers control structure. http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-special-investigations/tribunal-orders-investigation-into-naspers-control
‘Caxton circus’ slammed. http://www.moneyweb.co.za/moneyweb-south-africa/media24paarl-merger-abandoned
P.S. I will continue to search for a more actuarial example of disclosure