Canal Plus, the Vivendi-owned pay-TV broadcaster, has increased its bid to acquire MultiChoice and has now entered exclusive talks to take full control of the South African media group.

The France-based broadcaster has raised its offer to ZAR125 ($6.59) per ordinary share, which values the company at ZAR55 billion ($2.9 billion) in total.

Canal Plus was forced to up its bid after MultiChoice – which runs pay-TV sports heavyweight SuperSport – rejected a previous offer equating to ZAR105 per share.

MultiChoice shares have risen 52% since Canal Plus’ bid was first announced on February 1 and climbed 4.7% on Tuesday (March 4) alone, after the new offer.

Maxime Saada, Canal Plus chairman and chief executive, told Bloomberg: “Both companies have mutually agreed to co-operate, and MultiChoice has agreed it will give exclusivity to Canal Plus.

“We know the company well, and we have enough insight into the company’s value to propose this price.”

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Vivendi already holds a stake of 31.7% in MultiChoice, through a deal struck in July (taking it up from the previous level of 30.3%). It has been steadily increasing its shareholding in the media group over the last few years, to the point where it is now the largest shareholder.

Its shareholding in the company has now triggered local regulations that require it to make a takeover bid. The pay-TV giant was given until April 8 by South Africa's Takeover Regulations Panel to make a new bid. 

Canal Plus first took a stake in MultiChoice in early 2020 and was seeking to acquire all the ordinary MultiChoice shares it does not already hold, subject to regulatory approval.

The MultiChoice business includes the DStv and SuperSport brands, while it also relaunched its Showmax streaming platform last year.

Canal Plus, meanwhile, has recently increased its stake in beleaguered Scandinavian media service Viaplay’s ownership to around 29%, and its shareholding in Viu, the over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform owned by Hong Kong-based telecommunications group PCCW, to 30%.