French Canal+ which has been steadily buying shares in MultiChoice Group since 2020, has significantly increased its stake in the South African-headquartered pay-TV operator.
In a regulatory filing on Wednesday, JSE-listed MultiChoice said Groupe Canal+ had increased its stake from 20.1% announced in July to 26.26% now.
The move again raises questions about Canal+’s ultimate intentions, particularly whether it plans to make a minority offer for MultiChoice – a move that could be difficult to pull off given South Africa’s restrictions on foreign ownership of broadcasters.
“MultiChoice remains committed to acting in the best interests of all shareholders and creating sustainable, long-term shareholder value. Although the group regularly attracts investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on individual shareholders and interactions with them,” the pay-TV operator said, repeating an earlier statement about the purchase of Canal+ shares.
Canal+ started buying MultiChoice shares in 2020. In July this year, MultiChoice said the French company, which runs pay-TV in French-speaking Africa, which largely complements MultiChoice’s African footprint, had increased its stake to just over 20%. The previous disclosure was in November 2021, when the French group was said to have bought 15.4% of the issued ordinary shares.
Canal+ is owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi.
When Canal+ began buying MultiChoice shares in 2020, it sparked speculation about the company’s intentions. It also contributed to the dramatic rise in MultiChoice’s share price at the time. On October 5, 2020, MultiChoice first announced that Canal+ had acquired 6.5% of its capital.
“Whether it’s Canal+ or somebody else, we have a responsibility as directors of the company to do what’s in the best interest of the shareholders,” Jacobs, chief financial officer of MultiChoice Group, told TechCentral in a November 2020 interview.
“Whatever opportunity comes our way, we will try to keep an open mind. We will certainly look at it and say, “Is it in the best interest of the shareholders or not?” If that’s the case, we need to accept that and make a better deal for shareholders,” Jacobs said.
Canal+ previously told MultiChoice that it was considering the stake as a financial investment. The two companies have worked together for years, sharing content between their respective markets. “We maintain an ongoing relationship with them in various territories,” Jacobs said at the time. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media