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MultiChoice chair stays on to conclude Canal+ deal

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South African pay-TV and streaming company MultiChoice Group has extended chairperson Imtiaz Patel's tenure until its deal with French pay-TV company Canal+ is completed.

In a statement issued via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), MultiChoice said it had reached an agreement for Patel to continue being chair, as continuity would be beneficial.

Patel will stay on as chairperson until the deal is completed, or until an earlier date, based on the transaction's progress, said the company.

"In view of the recent ruling by the Takeover Regulation Panel (TRP) that required Groupe Canal+ SA (Canal+) to make an immediate mandatory offer to all MultiChoice shareholders and the cautionary SENS notice issued on 5 March 2024 in this regard, the MultiChoice board has reached an agreement with Mr Imtiaz Patel to remain on as chair," the company said in a statement.

Canal+ said it would publish a firm intention announcement by April 8, 2024.   (Source: Freepik)
Canal+ said it would publish a firm intention announcement by April 8, 2024.
(Source: Freepik)

In September 2023, MultiChoice announced that Patel would step down and Elias Masilela would take over as chair effective from April 1, 2024.

But according to the latest company statement: "Elias Masilela, a long-standing non-executive director and the chair, became the deputy chair of the MultiChoice board on April 1, 2024."

Further, it said he will "also become lead independent director in place of Jim Volkwyn, who will step down as lead independent director but remain as a non-executive director."

MultiChoice and Canal+ deal

The recent developments come after South Africa's Takeover Regulation Panel ruling that Canal+ must make a mandatory offer to buy MultiChoice after it acquired over 35% of the company on the open market.

In early February 2024, Canal+ offered R105 (US$5.50 at the time) per MultiChoice ordinary share – which represented a 40% premium on MultiChoice's closing share price on the JSE of R75 ($3.13) on January 31, 2024. But MultiChoice rejected the offer, saying it significantly undervalued the company.

Then in March 2024, the French pay-TV firm made a mandatory offer to MultiChoice shareholders to take up all the shares that it does not already own.

"While the minimum price for the Mandatory Offer in terms of Regulation 111(2) of the Takeover Regulations is approximately R105 per MultiChoice ordinary share, Canal+ has agreed to increase the price to make the Mandatory Offer at a cash consideration of R125 per MultiChoice ordinary share," the joint statement said in March.

Canal+ said it would publish a firm intention announcement by April 8, 2024.

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*Top image source: Freepik.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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