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Patrice Motsepe Poised to Join Canal+ in MultiChoice Acquisition Bid

Published March 28, 2024
1 months ago

In an ambitious move that could reshape the African pay-TV landscape, South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe is reportedly in preliminary discussions with Vivendi's broadcasting arm Canal+ to partake in a multibillion-dollar bid for MultiChoice Group — South Africa’s premier pay-TV operator. This potential partnership would bring together two powerful entities, linking Africa’s richest black entrepreneur with a renowned global media powerhouse.

MultiChoice’s stronghold on the African pay-TV market makes it a prime target for Canal+, which has been making strategic advances in the region. With a customer base stretching across numerous African countries, ties with local content creators, and the ownership of Showmax, a robust rival to Netflix, MultiChoice stands at the vanguard of the continent's entertainment industry.

The inclusion of Motsepe, through his investment firm African Rainbow Capital, is more than a financial asset—his presence in the deal could help Canal+ navigate South Africa's complex Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) regulations, designed to redress the inequalities of Apartheid by giving black South African citizens access to economic opportunities.

The stakes of the negotiations are as high as they are complex: Canal+, has increased its holding in MultiChoice beyond the 35% threshold, legally mandating a full takeover bid. Nevertheless, foreign ownership restrictions pose a significant hurdle that requires delicate diplomatic navigation. The preliminary proposition of R125 per share values MultiChoice at a lofty R55 billion, a noticeable leap from the earlier R105 per share offer which faced resistance from the broadcaster.

Canal+’s interest not only underscores the growing global appetite for African content and viewership but also reflects its strategy to solidify a footprint in a market with considerable growth potential. Africa, with its fast-growing population and emergent middle class, offers vast untapped prospects for content providers.

Vivendi's vision for MultiChoice transcends expansion; it's about consolidation and unification, aiming to merge its existing operations with those of MultiChoice. In effect, this would form a media colossus with nearly 50 million subscribers and a war chest to invest further in local programming and exclusive sports content – a critical draw for African viewers.

Negotiations are ongoing and, at this nascent stage, no outcomes are guaranteed. Canal+ and African Rainbow Capital are holding the cards close to their chest, declining to comment on the specifics of the discussions. Yet as the April 8 deadline for the formal offer edges closer, the industry is watching with bated breath to see if this union of media giants will come to pass.

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