French company Canal+ makes offer to acquire Multichoice shares

MultiChoice head office in Randburg, North of Johannesburg. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ Independent Newspapers.

MultiChoice head office in Randburg, North of Johannesburg. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/ Independent Newspapers.

Published Feb 1, 2024


Canal+, the French premium television channel, has made an offer to acquire all of the shares of MultiChoice that it does not already own, a move that could lead to Canal+ listing on the JSE.

Canal+ plans to offer MultiChoice shareholders R105 cash per share, representing a 40% premium to MultiChoice’s closing share price of R75.00 on January 31, 2024 on the JSE.

Upon completion of a due diligence, Canal+ intends to deliver a firm intention letter to the Independent Board.

“At this stage, there can be no certainty about the progression of the potential offer, nor the terms of any transaction that may occur,” a statement said.

Canal+ is actively preparing a listing following the unbundling announcement of its parent company Vivendi. This will allow investors to benefit from the combination of Canal+ and MultiChoice, its ultimate ultimate goal being to also obtain a listing in South Africa.

Canal+ has been a supportive major shareholder in MultiChoice for three years, having grown its investment to become the company’s largest shareholder.

“It is the ambition of Canal+ to create an African media business with enhanced scale, which can thrive in a competitive international market, better serve its consumers with a world leading offering of sports, local and global content, and ensure that Africa can tell her story to a global audience on her own terms,” a statement said.

The media industry in which MultiChoice is operating is becoming increasingly globalised and competitive, with regional media companies having to compete with the firepower of global media titans, with enormous resources to invest in content, marketing and technology. Scale is the only way to survive and thrive in this environment.

A combination between Canal+ and MultiChoice would create a group with significant scale. It would create a combined group with the ability to commit greater investment into local content and sport, the provision of a technology platform owned by the combined company, and which would diversify the geographical footprint of MultiChoice, mitigating localised risks and market volatility.

If the deal did not proceed MultiChoice’s lack of scale was likely to become a more acute problem in the coming years, risking the company’s status as the pre-eminent media company in Africa and impacting its mid-term trajectory, Canal+ said in a statement.

“Having operated in Africa for over 30 years, Canal+ is passionate about assisting in the advancement of the continent’s creative sector, and providing consumers with world leading ways to access best-in-class local and international content and sports. We respect the immense diversity and nuances that exist throughout the different markets we operate in, and would look to combine the deep local and regional experience of MultiChoice with the extensive global track record of Canal+,” the statement said.