Ghafla Kenya Gets Acquired by Ringier, Moves Offices

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Samuel Majani - Ghafla
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Ghafla Kenya is a Kenyan blog that many have a love-hate relationship with. In fact quoting the words of the founder Samuel Majani, “these are player-haters who have guilty pleasures – this being that they love visiting the site but don’t want it known they do”. Five year old at the point of acquisition, Ghafla has come from nothing to becoming one of the biggest media disruptors in Kenya. The blog which was initially a lyrics portal as Lyricskenya was funded in 2011 at a 100,000 Euro valuation by 88MPH. The amount put in was $25,000.

This was the first time a blog was funded in Kenya, a space reserved for startups selling a software or hardware centered product. This would then change the outlook of the blogging space and many more blogs started sprouting with similar content. There was some validation in blogging as Ghafla alongside other players started getting the ear of the advertisers, companies and agencies alike.

Ghafla would see it’s own disruption in the name of Mpasho where Radio Africa Group owners would see the potential Ghafla has and seek to buy them out. But according to Majani and other sources, they offered peanuts for the company which already expected to have a blown up valuation. They offered an amount slightly higher than the $25,000 given for a 20% stake at the blog.

After the fall-out in negotiations, Radio Africa started Mpasho, poached the team out of Ghafla and brought the blog nearly to it’s feet. But this didn’t kill the dream of Majani and others left who went on to get back to their feet and back at the top of gossip blogging. Not even the machinery that is Radio Africa Group could take that from them.

Now in 2016, Ringier has been on an acquisition trend, getting into a funding arrangement with One Africa Media that would see them merge operations in Africa. Ghafla Kenya was them venturing into new space outside the classifieds business. Word on the streets puts the acquisition amount to $300,000 (~Kshs 30,000,000), an amount Ghafla’s Majani disputes, terming it a tad bit low, but won’t divulge the actual amount of the buyout. He says that $300,000 is the budget for one year of operations, not acquisition value.

Ghafla has since moved out of the CBD office and into the 14 Riverside office where One Africa Media is headquartered. One Africa Media is known for ventures like Cheki, a car classifieds site, Brighter Monday a jobs classifieds site and BuyRentKenya, a property classifieds site. Ghafla will work from this office. Majani who previously owned 75% stake remains CEO on a salary alongside his team.

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  • watesh

    Majani caved in for the money, was the site declining in page views due to high competition?

  • Kev Opati Snr

    I may not like everything published by Ghafla! (and their philosophy) but is is important to appreciate that the company is an inspiration in the kenyan tech space. I have observed it grow and it is an inspiration. congratulation Majani!

    • Frank

      I agree to this 100%. I also may not have liked it’s reviews on quite a number of issues but then again I didn’t have a reason to miss a hread. Thanks Majani and team for transforming the Kenya social media reporting landscape. All the best bro

  • TheSage

    Good move Ghafla! Respect for being the pioneers and growing amid challenges.

  • http://njur.us Njurus

    This is awesome news. Great validation on the Kenyan start-up scene but IDK why though to me $500k is or rather sounds way to little money anyway congratulations to Majani let’s see what his next move will be, for sure he is there for just the transition if I am not wrong.