Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Media Merger objections are puzzling

Published:Wednesday | December 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In response to coverage and a full-page ad elsewhere in the media, I wish to state that, as an RJR shareholder of long standing and someone who works in the financial sector, objections raised against the merger are without basis and frankly puzzling.

RJR has provided shareholders with all the information needed to make informed decisions on the proposed merger. Information has been shared about the valuation of both RJR and the Gleaner that has been certified by Jamaica's leading accounting firms. The company has provided shareholders with information on the synergistic benefits of the merger, the cost savings that will accrue, the timeline of such benefits, and the not insubstantial outcome of having a stronger company that is widely owned by individual Jamaicans, Jamaican companies and Jamaican institutions.

An important consideration that's missing from the objectors' argument is that high levels of media fragmentation hurt the entire media industry and threaten media independence, putting weakened companies at risk of becoming subservient to special-interest parties. Hence, the fact that the merger will forestall the valid risk that foreign-controlled and private telecommunications companies will otherwise take over controlling interests in Jamaica's media.

For the same people who control the telecoms industry in Jamaica to also snatch controlling interests in the media is neither in the interest of RJR shareholders nor beneficial to workers, the advertising industry, nor Jamaican citizens. This is why I have every intention of supporting the merger and urge all RJR shareholders to do likewise.

Sincerely,

Satisfied RJR Shareholder

Kingston 10