The partnership between Kenyan entertainment portal Ghafla and Swiss firm Ringier has come to an end only three months after its relaunch.
While Ghafla in a story detailing the conclusion of the deal did not allude to any fall out, there are reports that Ringier Kenya/Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) pulled out after discovering that the former management of the portal, which had been transformed into a general news site with a bias on showbiz, had been manipulating its social media figures using robots thereby giving it a false value.
Ringier is said to have initially bought out Ghafla for an estimated Sh60 million but later opted for a partnership as it combed through its books and backroom to establish its real value, businesstoday.co.ke reports.
However, the two did not disclose the behind the scenes intrigues instead hailing the partnership, saying it specifically saw tech support and digital native content development as the core to the joint work to develop the sector further.
“It saw the successful extension and relaunch of Ghafla to an East African vision – with an additionally broader view added to the entertainment core of the Ghafla brand. RADP’s pan-African Pulse general content and news brand supported this as the leader in a broader field and technology and collaborated with the East African expertise of Ghafla,” a press release on the portal says.
Samwel Majani, Founder & CEO Ghafla, and Tim Kollmann, MD Ringier Africa Digital Publishing, highlighted the joint goodwill and gratitude towards this partnership and wish the respective pan-African / East African ventures all the best for the future. While future content collaboration is in the cards, the different core strategies made both partners conclude the partnership in good spirits.
“We have learnt a lot from working with Ringier. We shall be taking these lessons going forward to improve the Ghafla platform and we look forward to working with Ringier again in the near future,” Ghafla quotes Majani as saying.
“African digital and social publishing is still in its early stage. Therefore partnerships are crucial to develop it further. We are happy to have concluded a partnership with the entertainment brand Ghafla and its team in East Africa and wish them all the best in their field,” Kollmann adds.
The news portal will now revert to its old platform and seek a new office as they had moved to Ringier offices when the deal was struck. Apart from the press release, the site has not been updated since yesterday with the fate of staff still in doubt.
This is the transfer of business notice that the two firms put out indicating it was meant to be a total takeover:
When Ghafla was recently relaunched, Ringier Africa & Asia CEO Robin Lingg said Ringier is constantly reaching for new opportunities to strengthen its position as an innovative and leading publisher.
“We are excited to welcome Ghafla as a new partner of our business in East Africa, seeing a lot of great potential in the product and its further growth opportunities. The inclusion of Ghafla into the Ringier family comes at an exciting time for our publishing company, as we continue to invest in building out a fast-moving, pioneering, credible and truly pan-African publishing network.”
This clearly illustrates that it was not meant to be a short-term deal.