French media giant offers R54 billion in Multichoice takeover deal

 ·8 Apr 2024

Vivendi SE’s Canal+ made an all-cash formal offer for MultiChoice Group Ltd., valuing the South African broadcaster’s shares at $2.9 billion (around R54 billion) as the French firm moves ahead with its plans to boost its presence on the continent. 

Canal+ will offer to buy shares at R125 apiece, said MultiChoice and Canal+ in a filing on Monday. The bid will now be considered by a newly formed independent board of MultiChoice.

The firm’s shares have climbed 25% since Canal+ first announced its plan to purchase the broadcaster in February. The South African company had balked at the initial offer of R105.

If the French broadcaster is able to navigate South Africa’s limits on foreign media ownership, it will gain greater access to the market in Africa, home to the world’s fastest-growing and youngest population.

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe could join Canal+ to get a deal done, although discussions are early stage.

Canal+ reserves the right to buy more MultiChoice shares in the market, it said in the statement.

Should these be bought at more than R125 each, the French company would be obliged to raise the offer price to “not less than the highest consideration paid” per share bought. 

Canal+ began buying shares in MultiChoice as far back as 2020, and surpassed a 35% holding in the company this year, triggering a mandatory takeover offer.

Vivendi has developed a strong presence in high-growth regions in Africa and Asia, and plans to list Canal+ — its largest unit — separately. The French company said previously that it plans to keep MultiChoice listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. 

Formed in South Africa in 1985, MultiChoice expanded across Africa in the early 1990s and was spun off from Naspers Ltd. in 2019.

The latest deal could see a combination of Canal+ operations with MultiChoice creating a group with almost 50 million subscribers and the resources to invest more in local content and sports. 


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