Naspers is freeing its pay-TV, MultiChoice, to flex financial muscle with Netflix in Africa

Naspers will complete listing of its PayTV, MultiChioce, as a standalone entity on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) by March 2019.

Satellite dishes connect township residents to South Africa's DSTV television network, owned by telecommunications giant Naspers, in Khayelitsha township, Cape Town, May 19, 2017.
  • The new entity will be MultiChoice Group Limited (MultiChoice Group) comprising of MultiChoice South Africa (MCSA), MultiChoice Africa, Showmax and Irdeto and their subsidiaries and affiliates.
  • The listing processes will officially start on February 27.
  • The move will pave way for Africa’s biggest pay-TV business by subscribers, Multichoice, to compete with fast-growing Netflix and other streaming services.

Naspers has announced plans to complete listing of its PayTV, MultiChioce, as a standalone entity on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) by March 2019.

In a pre-listing statement compliant with the requirements of the JSE released on Monday, Naspers said MultiChoice South Africa (MCSA), MultiChoice Africa, Showmax and Irdeto and their subsidiaries and affiliates, will, among others, be subsidiaries of MultiChoice Group.

Bob van Dijk, Naspers Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is an exciting time for both Naspers and our shareholders. The unbundling of MultiChoice Group will complete Naspers’ evolution into a global consumer internet company while also creating the opportunity for our shareholders to own a stake directly in MultiChoice Group, a unique African success story.

Calvo Mawela, Group Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Group, commented: “We believe the listing of MultiChoice provides an excellent opportunity to invest in the leading provider of video entertainment on the African continent. MultiChoice Group brings an incomparable local and international content offering to around 14 million households and is one of the fastest-growing pay-TV broadcast providers globally. With strong financials, the flexibility of an ungeared balance sheet and deep local knowledge, we hope to deliver excellent returns to shareholders over time.”

In September 2018, Naspers announced the plan to list its video entertainment business separately on JSE and unbundle the shares to its shareholders as stiff competition gets way with Netflix and others.

The move will pave way for Africa’s biggest pay-TV business by subscribers, Multichoice, to free up cash for the unit to compete with fast-growing Netflix and other streaming services with its strong fans in Sports – football, cricket and Formula One.

Key highlights from the listing:

  • The new entity will be MultiChoice Group Limited (MultiChoice Group) comprising of MultiChoice South Africa (MCSA), MultiChoice Africa, Showmax and Irdeto and their subsidiaries and affiliates.
  • The listing processes will officially start on February 27.
  • Naspers intends to finalise the Unbundling plan by March 2019.
  • The unbundling plan will allow Naspers to leverage and provide necessary financial flexibility to pursue growth opportunities in African video entertainment.

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