Masilela takes chair as MultiChoice-Canal+ goes to ‘next phase’


Source: MultiChoice

The proposed takeover of MultiChoice by Canal+ has “now shifted to the next phase”, allowing chair Imtiaz Patel to leave and be replaced by his deputy Elias Masilela, according to the South African pay TV operator.

In a regulatory announcement, MultiChoice said that Patel had agreed to defer his stepping down date at the board’s request from the planned date of March 31 in order to oversee the negotiations.

At the time, MultiChoice’s board said it believed “there is significant benefit in continuity at this time and Mr Patel has agreed to extend his tenure until the conclusion of the Canal+ transaction or such sooner date as may be determined in light of progress on the

However, according to the latest regulatory update, the pair’s entering into a cooperation agreement on April 7 and a firm intention announcement the following day, progress achieved this far and the constitution of an independent board to ensure that the transaction meets the requirements of the country’s rules, meant that it was no longer necessary for Patel to delay his departure further, the company said.

The board and Patel have now agreed that that Masilela will take over and that Patel will step down from the board. Patel will continue to advise MultiChoice on a consultancy basis.

In April Canal+ and MultiChoice agreed the terms of the French pay TV giant’s proposed mandatory offer to acquire 100% control of the South African company, with MultiChoice shareholders to receive ZAR125 per ordinary share.

The price was well above the ZAR105 regulatory minimum threshold and representec a 67% premium on MultiChoice shares’ closing price on February 1. When Canal+ made its initial offer for the company.

If Canal+ succeeds in securing 90% of MultiChoice shares during the offer period, it then has the right to acquire any remaining shares and delist MultiChoice.

Canal+ has said that if the European listing goes ahead, MultiChoice shareholders will have the chance to become shareholders of the united group through a secondary listing in Johannesburg.

The French outfit said that if its parent Vivendi’s plan to list it separately comes to fruition ahead of the end of the offer, it will look at revising its offer to give MultiChoice shareholders the chance to “have exposure to the combined group through the listing”.

The French pay TV operator believes that a combined group would be better placed to take on the challenge posited by the likes of Netflix and YouTube as penetration of the internet and mobile access grows in Africa.

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