Heavyweight France-based pay-TV broadcaster Canal Plus has put forward a full takeover offer for MultiChoice, the owner of SuperSport, the main sports broadcaster in sub-Saharan Africa.
Yesterday, Canal Plus unveiled a full, non-binding, indicative offer for MultiChoice, which would equate to ZAR105 ($5.62) per ordinary share at the African media group.
Vivendi-owned Canal Plus 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 already the largest shareholder.
It first took a stake in MultiChoice in early 2020, and now intends to acquire all the ordinary MultiChoice shares it does not already hold, subject to regulatory approval.
Maxime Saada, Canal Plus Group’s management board chair, has said: “Canal Plus is a long-term investor in MultiChoice and in South Africa, and is proud to be actively involved in the media sector in Africa for 30 years.
“To accelerate the development of MultiChoice in Africa and beyond, it will need to have a strategy that allows it to increase its size and strengthen its local and global footprint. Our potential offer, if successful, will constitute an important step in enabling MultiChoice to realize its full potential.”
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He added: “Combined with Canal Plus, MultiChoice would have the resources to gain scale and invest in local African talent and stories, and would have the necessary proprietary technology resources.
“We are convinced that a merger of our two groups would enable the new entity to address the structural challenges facing the media sector, to develop authentic and ambitious African content, to support more local production companies, and to expand access to sport for its subscribers while investing in local sport.”
In November, MultiChoice posted earnings of ZAR1.8 billion for the six months up to September 30.
MultiChoice finally secured rights to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) soccer tournament – taking place currently in the Ivory Coast – for SuperSport earlier this month, bringing to an end a wrangle with New World TV (NWTV), the Togo-based network.
Canal Plus, meanwhile, recently announced that it would increase its stake in beleaguered Scandinavian media service Viaplay’s ownership to above 25%.
Canal Plus, which helps to distribute Viaplay in European regions such as Poland and Austria through its regional networks, purchased an initial 12% stake in Viaplay Group in July 2023, amid a slate of redundancies and business contractions made by the entertainment company.
Canal Plus and MultiChoice do operate across the same region in sub-Saharan Africa, but rarely clash in terms of snapping up top-tier sporting rights as Canal Plus is French-language and MultiChoice provides viewers with English-language content.
In terms of its proposed MultiChoice takeover, Canal Plus aims to create a media group able to succeed "in an increasingly competitive international market, offering its audience an ever more attractive and richer offering of sports content, local and global, and to allow the African continent to shine before an international audience."