Vivendi's Canal+ makes mandatory offer to buy out MultiChoice

Signage at MultiChoice, Randburg. Picture: Karen Sandison/ Independent Newspapers

Signage at MultiChoice, Randburg. Picture: Karen Sandison/ Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 8, 2024


French media group Vivendi's Canal+ made an all-cash mandatory offer on Monday to buy all the shares of South African broadcaster MultiChoice it did not already own for R35 billion, both companies said.

That offer at R125 per share follows an indicative offer of R105 made by Canal+ on Feb. 1, which MultiChoice rejected as significantly undervaluing the company.

The need to make a mandatory offer was triggered by Canal+, MultiChoice's biggest shareholder, subsequently raising its holding in the firm above the 35% threshold. Its new offer values MultiChoice, in which it now owns a 36.6% stake, at about R55 billion, according to Reuters calculations.

By 9.59am, shares in MultiChoice were up 3.7% at R116.

The deal would create a pan-African broadcasting powerhouse with about 31.5 million subscribers across over 50 countries, able to put African content to global audiences as well as compete on an international scale.

The French media company has broad reach in French-speaking African nations, while MultiChoice has a stronger presence in English-speaking countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Canal+ said it believed the competitive landscape for Africa's media and entertainment industry wold undergo further profound changes as the continent rapidly adopts broadband and mobile internet. Smartphone adoption is also rising.

"A combined group would be better positioned to address key structural challenges and opportunities resulting from the progressive digitalisation and globalisation of the media and entertainment sector," the companies said.

MultiChoice's independent board constituted for the deal will now consider the bid.

Canal+ reserves the right to buy more MultiChoice shares in the market during the course of the offer. Should the French company buy these shares at more than R125 each, it is obliged to increase the offer price, according to the statement.

Regulatory Hurdle

For the deal to be successful, the French broadcaster will need to navigate the country's stringent Black economic ownership requirements and restrictions on foreign media ownership, which caps voting rights at 20%.

Maxime Saada, the chairman and CEO of Canal+ Group, said there were workable solutions around that which "of course will require us to have local partners".

Last month Bloomberg reported that billionaire Patrice Motsepe could join Canal+'s bid.

The companies said they intend to comply with all applicable laws and will provide further details in this regard.