Serrari Group

In a significant development for the African media industry, Sub-Saharan pay-TV leader Multichoice has endorsed a US$2.9 billion takeover offer from French media giant Canal+. This acquisition, expected to be finalized by April 2025 pending regulatory approvals, marks a pivotal shift in the continent’s broadcasting landscape.

Strategic Consolidation

Canal+, owned by Vivendi, already holds a 45.2% stake in South African-based Multichoice and first initiated its takeover bid earlier this year. An independent board at Multichoice has reviewed the proposal and deemed it “fair and reasonable.” The endorsement from Multichoice paves the way for a significant consolidation in the African pay-TV market.

Commitments and Regulatory Hurdles

To gain regulatory approval, Canal+ has committed to job creation and substantial investments in South Africa’s creative industries. These commitments are part of the company’s strategy to meet the country’s competition regulations, which consider the public interest. Additionally, Canal+ faces legislative restrictions that prevent foreign entities from holding more than 20% of the voting rights in a local broadcaster. Potential solutions include a company restructure and a joint-listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Multichoice’s Extensive Reach

Multichoice, Africa’s largest pay-TV operator, serves 22 million households across the continent. Its offerings include the DStv satellite platform, the Showmax streaming service, and the anti-piracy firm Irdeto. Notably, its SuperSport channels hold broadcasting rights for major sports events such as the Premier League, international cricket, and rugby union, catering to audiences in South Africa, Nigeria, and both English and Portuguese-speaking African regions.

Global Expansion of Canal+

For Canal+, the acquisition of Multichoice represents a strategic expansion into the African market. Canal+ already has a significant presence in several European markets and investments in platforms like the Nordic broadcaster Viaplay and the Asian streaming service Viu. Integrating Multichoice will enhance Canal+’s presence in French-speaking Africa, reinforcing its position as a global media competitor.

Broader Impacts

The merger is anticipated to have positive socio-economic impacts, particularly in South Africa, through job creation and investment in local creative industries. Canal+’s commitment to maintaining and expanding Multichoice’s diverse content portfolio promises to enhance media experiences for African audiences.

As the deal moves towards completion, the focus will be on Canal+’s ability to meet regulatory requirements and deliver on its investment promises, potentially transforming the African broadcasting landscape and establishing Canal+ as a significant player in the global media market.

photo source: Google

By: Montel Kamau

Serrari Financial Analyst

6th June, 2024

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