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Canal+ increases stake in MultiChoice

French pay TV giant Canal+ has increased its stake in South African pay TV operator MultiChoice, taking its total stake in the company to 15.37%.

MultiChoice advised its shareholders that the Vivendi-owned outfit had acquired an additional interest in the ordinary shares of the company, “such that the total interest in the ordinary shares of the Company held by Groupe Canal now amounts to 15.37% of the Company’s total ordinary shares in issue”.

MultiChoice’s statutes allow it to reduce the voting rights of shares so that the aggregate voting power owned or held by foreigners does not exceed 20% of total voting rights. It says the measure enables it to ensure compliance with South African law.

Canal+ initially acquired a notifiable stake in the Johannesburg stock exchange-listed operator in October last year, when it said it had taken a 6.5% stake, above the 5% threshold that required it to make the stake public.

Canal+ said at the time that the move was a long-term financial investment and was a testament to the confidence it and its parent company Vivendi had in MultiChoice and the African continent.

The French pay TV operator is highly active in Francophone Africa, which it sees as one of its main growth businesses, while MultiChoice has around 19.5 million subscribers across 50 countries, primarily in Anglophone Africa.

Of the latest acquisition of shares, MultiChoice said: “As a publicly held company, MultiChoice regularly engages with its strategic partners and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community. The Group’s policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders nor on its interactions with them. The Company remains committed to acting in the best interests of all shareholders and to create sustainable long-term shareholder value.”

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