Multichoice Group Spinoff and Listing

On February 27 Multichoice listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, in a spinoff move by its parent company Naspers. The listing is expected to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and create an empowered African entertainment pay-TV business with strong financials and no debt to deliver returns for its shareholders.

The new company called Multichoice Group includes MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax and Irdeto a digital security company. It serves 13.5 million households around Africa and had a trading profit of R6.1 billion last year. Naspers itself has $20 billion revenue, and owns 31.2% of Chinese giant Tencent and large stakes in other e-commerce firms in Russia (Mail.Ru) and India (MakeMyTrip).

In 2006 Naspers facilitated the sale of a 20% stake in Multichoice South Africa to investors in a black economic empowerment program initiative and about 90,000 individual and companies bought the shares through a vehicle called Phuthuma Nathi (PN) that now owns 25% of Multichoice South Africa.  Over the years, PN’s shareholders are estimated to have got 17 times return on their investment through capital growth (from R10 per share to R130) and dividend payments.

In the listing, an additional 5% of Multichoice South Africa will go to Phuthuma Nathi at no cost and thereafter, Naspers will facilitate the exchange of a quarter of PN’s shareholding in Multichoice SA for shares in Multichoice Group.
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Similarly, in Kenya, the Group has implemented a transfer of 30% of the shares held by the Group in GOtv Kenya to a qualifying local nominee (whilst maintaining the beneficial interest in the stake) in order to comply with local ownership requirements.

Ten years ago, Multichoice’s Dstv regained the English premier league soccer rights they had briefly lost to GTV.

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