To expand its presence in the African media landscape, Canal+ Group has submitted a staggering $1.7 billion bid to acquire South Africa’s media giant, Multichoice. The French pay-TV operator, owned by Vivendi, already holds a substantial 31.67% stake in Multichoice and aims to secure the remaining 68%.
This bid marks a continuation of Canal+’s long-standing interest in Multichoice, with a prior bid being rejected years ago. Vivendi, Canal+’s parent company, has a history of pursuing strategic acquisitions and is no stranger to hostile takeovers.
Of particular interest is Canal+’s broader strategy in Africa, where it has been steadily acquiring media giants in various countries. The list includes Marodi in Senegal, Zacu TV in Rwanda, Kana TV in Ethiopia, ROK in Nigeria, and A+ (formerly Plan A) in Cote d’Ivoire. This signals Canal+’s ambition to establish itself as a major player in the African media market.
However, the potential success of this acquisition faces a notable obstacle in South Africa’s financial regulations, limiting foreign entities to 20% of Multichoice’s voting rights. Overcoming this regulatory challenge could reshape the landscape of Multichoice, potentially allowing Canal+ to exert more influence and control.
Canal+ envisions the acquisition as a means to create a major African media group, leveraging its expertise and resources to enhance Multichoice’s growth. The proposed offer of ZAR105 per share represents a substantial 40% premium to Multichoice’s recent closing share price, emphasizing the seriousness of Canal+’s intent.
Maxime Saada, CEO of Canal+, expressed confidence in the potential merger, stating, “Our potential offer, if completed, will constitute an important stage in allowing Multichoice to realize its full potential. Combined with Canal+, MultiChoice will have at its disposal the necessary resources to gain scale and invest in local African talent and stories.”
As the bidding process unfolds, industry watchers are keenly observing how Canal+ navigates South Africa’s regulatory landscape and the impact this potential acquisition could have on the future of Multichoice in the African media market.
By Shalom O. Obisesan