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Multichoice extends Chairman Imtiaz Patel’s tenure to conclude Canal+ deal

The Board of Multichoice Group said they have agreed to extend the tenure of the company’s Chairman, Imtiaz Patel for him to spearhead the conclusion of the ongoing buyout deal with French media conglomerate Groupe Canal+.

The owner of DStv had earlier in September last year announced that Patel would step down. Elias Masilela was set to take over as chair from 1 April 2024.

However, in a notice issued to its shareholders on Tuesday, the company said Patel will remain as chairman until the completion of the ongoing Canal+ transaction, while Masilela, a long-standing non-executive director and the designated Chair, will become the Deputy Chair of the MultiChoice Board.

Citing the recent decision of the Takeover Regulation Panel as the reason, the Multichoice Board in the notice to shareholders said:

Earlier in March, South Africa’s Takeover Regulation Panel ruled that Vivendi SE’s Canal+ is obligated to make a mandatory offer for MultiChoice Group after augmenting its shareholding in the African pay-TV business to over 35%.

The ruling followed MultiChoice’s announcement on February 5, indicating that Canal+’s holdings surpassed the threshold stipulated by South African law, necessitating a mandatory offer to shareholders.

Before that, Canal+ had offered a $2.5 billion acquisition deal to MultiChoice, a Pan-African Pay-TV operator.

Canal+, led by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, proposed 105 rand per share in cash, presenting a 40% premium to MultiChoice’s recent closing price. This move aligns with Vivendi’s strategy to merge Canal+’s local operations with MultiChoice, creating a conglomerate with nearly 50 million subscribers.

MultiChoice, however, rejected the offer citing the undervaluation of the company at the proposed R105 per share. The rejection was communicated to shareholders, emphasizing MultiChoice’s resistance to the acquisition terms.

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