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Ireland's Independent News & Media sells leading newspapers in South Africa for $227M

An Irish media company has sold off its newspaper group in South Africa, including The Star, for $227 million to a local firm.

In a statement issued late Sunday night, Dublin-based Independent News & Media PLC said it sold its South African subsidiary to Sekunjalo Holdings. Sekunjalo Holdings is led by executive chairman Iqbal Surve, a doctor who once gave medical aid to political prisoners released from Robben Island at the end of the apartheid era.

Independent News & Media's South Africa portfolio includes the Johannesburg-based The Star newspaper, which has a daily circulation of 105,000 copies. It also includes The Pretoria News and the Cape Times and the Cape Argus, as well as weekly newspapers.

The sale comes as newspaper circulation is dropping in South Africa.