Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Canal+ bid to buy MultiChoice eventually meets board approval

Canal+ bid to buy MultiChoice eventually meets board approval
Illustrative image | MultiChoice. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | Canal+. (Photo: Wikimedia) BM Georgina Canal+

The media group’s independent board has accepted an all-cash offer for its remaining shares by Canal+, which closes on 25 April 2025, subject to approval by relevant authorities in their respective territories. 

French media giant Canal+’s multi-billion rand buyout bid of MultiChoice is one step closer to being sealed.

The South African media group’s independent board has accepted an all-cash offer for its remaining shares by Canal+, which closes on 25 April 2025, subject to approval by relevant authorities in their respective territories.

Canal+ already owns 45.2% of MultiChoice, based on MultiChoice’s total issued ordinary shares of 442,512,678.

Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada said on a media call earlier that his company had already invested about €1.2-billion in MultiChoice.

The French group has offered MultiChoice, which has a current market cap of about R50-billion, R125 per ordinary share.

In a joint circular issued on Tuesday, the groups stated that an independent expert, Standard Bank had determined that the offer was “fair and reasonable”.

A transaction is generally considered to be fair to a company’s shareholders if the benefits received by the shareholders are equal to or greater than the value surrendered by the shareholders.

An offer’s fairness to shareholders is judged based on measurable factors: it is considered fair if the compensation offered per share is at least equal to the value shareholders give up per share (value surrendered). An offer that pays shareholders more per share than the current market price is usually seen as fair.

Standard Bank had determined a valuation range as at 1 May 2024 of R113.00 to R129 per share, with a likely value of R120.00. It therefore deems the R125 per share offer to be within its determined valuation range.

Canal+ reserves the right to acquire additional MultiChoice shares in the market during the course of the offer in accordance with applicable law, report to the takeover regulation panel, and announce it to MultiChoice shareholders on SENS and the A2X News Service (ANS), in accordance with the requirements of the Takeover Regulations.

The offer will close on 25 April 2025 and the results will be released on the JSE and ANS on 29 April 2025.

In April, when the MultiChoice board agreed to cooperate with the buyout by Canal+, Daily Maverick reported that some MultiChoice shareholders were relieved at the offer to buy the pay TV giant, because it could rescue them from an investment that has turned sour.

The board had initially rejected attempts by Canal+ to buy remaining MultiChoice shares for R105, because the offer was too low.

The R125 offer has now sweetened the deal.

Strategic deal

Launched in 1985 as M-Net by Naspers, MultiChoice is Africa’s leading entertainment platform. Its products and services are used by over 23.5 million customers in 50 markets across sub-Saharan Africa.

Canal+ has a presence in more than 50 countries. At the end of last year, it had about 26.4 million subscribers, including 16.6 million to Canal+ International in Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. It also broadcasts more than 100 specific channels for the international market.

The Canal+ acquisition is strategic: while it is strong in Francophone Africa, MultiChoice dominates Anglophone Africa, so merging the two would create a powerful pan-African media giant.

MultiChoice’s ShowMax streaming service is also a major competitor to Canal+ and other streaming platforms like Netflix. Owning ShowMax would give Canal+ a stronger foothold in the African streaming market.

Joining forces would allow them to invest more in content creation, technology, and compete more effectively against global players.

But local regulations could complicate Canal+’s acquisition of MultiChoice.

The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (Ecta) restricts foreign ownership of commercial broadcasters to a maximum of 20%.

Several other regulatory bodies in South Africa still need to approve the deal, including the takeover regulation panel, the Competition Commission and the JSE. DM

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