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Canal+ Offer for MultiChoice Gains Shareholders’ Support

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Some MultiChoice shareholders have expressed relief at the offer by Canal+ to buy Africa’s pay TV giant for $2.9 billion, essentially viewing the potential deal as a vehicle for them to be rescued from an investment that has turned sour.

Canal+ Offer for MultiChoice Gains Shareholders’ Support

On April 8,, the deal inched closer to being cemented when the board of MultiChoice agreed to cooperate with Canal+, a sign that it was warming to a tie-up with France’s broadcasting conglomerate.

The board initially rejected the offer by Canal+ to buy the MultiChoice shares that it does not already own for R105 each, saying it was too low and undervalued the company’s growth prospects.

But MultiChoice has been convinced to reconsider its position after Canal+ improved the offer to R125 per share. Canal+ already owns 40.01% of MultiChoice shares on the JSE and wants to pay R35-billion to buy the rest of the company and take control of it.

The next big test is whether MultiChoice shareholders will support or reject Canal+’s offer, which requires support from 90% of shareholders to get the multibillion-rand deal over the line.

Daily Maverick canvassed the views of MultiChoice shareholders and industry players about the merits of the deal and whether they planned to throw their weight behind it when it comes up for a vote in the coming months.

Early indications are that some shareholders view the deal as a blessing and an opportunity to bail out from their investment in MultiChoice.

Before Canal+ made a move on MultiChoice, the latter’s share price had been down by 22% as its operations came under pressure from declining DStv subscriber numbers and intense competition from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+.

Its earnings have also taken a hit of billions of rands because of the depreciation of African currencies against the US dollar, especially the Nigerian naira.

MultiChoice also had a run-in with regulators; in Nigeria, it ran into problems relating to outstanding tax payments. In South Africa, competitors including the SABC and eMedia (the owner of e.tv) have complained to regulators, accusing MultiChoice of anti-competitive behaviour and using its dominant position to restrict access to its broadcasting platforms and dictating restrictive licensing agreements.

The investment community response

Anthony Sedgwick, the cofounder of Abax Investments, was withering in his assessment of MultiChoice’s investment prospects. “Put frankly, we were relieved to see Canal+ finally step up and bail us out of the position,” he said.

According to MultiChoice’s latest annual report, Abax Investments held 0.34% of its shares. But Abax recently sold those shares, taking advantage of MultiChoice’s 25% share price jump since Canal+ initially tabled its buyout offer in February.

“We think Multichoice is a great business that produces an incredible variety of content, creates opportunities for so many talented people, supports a huge variety of good causes and is a real South African business champion.

“But it operates in unfriendly regulatory countries … and faces some headwinds from hard currency priced content and broadcast costs,” Sedgwick said.

Asief Mohamed, the chief investment officer of Aeon Investment Management, shared Sedgwick’s concerns about MultiChoice.

“My guess is that the other shareholders will likely accept the R125 offer. Governance has for a long time been a concern of some shareholders, including ourselves,” Mohamed told Daily Maverick.

MultiChoice’s latest annual report puts Aeon’s shareholding in it at 0.43%.

Merits of the deal

Canal+ has argued that the aim of buying MultiChoice would be to combine both businesses to create an entertainment giant that can survive a market facing intense competition and declining advertising revenue.

A combined Canal+ and MultiChoice will boast media businesses in many African countries, from South Africa and Nigeria to Senegal and Cameroon.

Not all investors are pessimistic about MultiChoice, its business fundamentals and investment prospects. In fact, when MultiChoice ran into tax troubles in Nigeria in July 2021, which precipitated a steep decline in its share price (to a low of R115), Argon Asset Management saw it as a buying opportunity. It bought MultiChoice shares and has since maintained its holding in the company to about 0.41%.

Asked why Argon remained bullish about MultiChoice, the asset management firm’s equity analyst, Richard Court, said: “Simplistically, there are two parts to MCG [MultiChoice Group]. There is the mature South African business, which, for the most part, was highly profitable and cash-generative.

“Then there is the business that MCG is building in the rest of Africa, which was actually a drag on profitability, and it was still quite small in the life of MCG from a bottom-line perspective. Nigeria takes up a lot of the bandwidth.

“We think the market was overly pessimistic on the prospects of the rest-of-Africa segment. We thought the market was overreacting to the possibility of a tax penalty coming out of Nigeria. The share price fell back and we just took the buying opportunity. We thought that MCG share was worth more than the levels at the time.”

Court said MultiChoice had managed to defend its premium TV segment (consumers who subscribe to DSTV premium packages) despite the arrival of international streaming services in South Africa.

“It did quite well in the lower segment and in the lower-cost offerings by growing subscriptions in those markets. Management was doing the right thing strategically and executing quite well on that strategy,” he said.

MultiChoice’s investments into Showmax strengthened its defence position, he said.

Argon’s house view is that Canal+’s R125 offer undervalues MultiChoice and its growth prospects.

“At the moment, we are unlikely to accept at R125. In a few years from now, if they’re able to build Showmax and if Nigeria stabilises, which we can’t say when, then I think the outlook for MCG is going to be a lot rosier than what it is now. I think the market would recognise that and that should reflect in the share price,” Court said. He was unwilling to comment on what he thought would be a fair offer from Canal+.

Canal+ said the media industry in which MultiChoice was operating “is becoming increasingly globalised and competitive, with regional media companies having to compete with the firepower of global media titans, with enormous resources to invest in content, marketing and technology…”

With a customer base of 22 million, MultiChoice’s growth strategy involves investing in local and international content for its streaming service, Showmax, and Canal+ is likely to provide capital to fund the growth.

Peter Takaendesa, the head of equities at Mergence Investment Managers, has argued that only companies with scale and a strong balance sheet are likely to survive changes in the entertainment industry.

“Canal+ and MultiChoice can leverage content and financial strength. However, there is still no guarantee of success, as the fight against global streaming giants is intense.”

Other large MultiChoice shareholders are yet to opine on the deal. They include the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which holds 13%, M&G Investments (more than 7%) and Allan Gray (6%). Allan Gray declined to comment to Daily Maverick, and M&G and the PIC were not available to do so.

Another MultiChoice shareholder that is not ready to express its view on the Canal+ deal is Sanlam Investments, which has a 1.9% interest in the broadcasting company. Sanlam said it opted not to express its stance or intentions “considering the sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations” pertaining to the deal.

“While we understand the importance of transparency and accountability, we believe it is essential to maintain confidentiality and prudence when dealing with such matters,” Sanlam said.

The MultiChoice-Canal+ deal is likely to take two years to be completed, as it still requires regulatory approval.

Credit: Daily Maverick

 

 

 


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SLTV to Create Jobs, Shore Nigeria’s Forex- Nwafor

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Metrodigital Ltd., homegrown satellite pay television and owners of Silver Lake Television (SLTV), has promised to impact positively on the lives of Nigerians and shore up foreign exchange for the country.

SLTV to Create Jobs, Shore Nigeria’s Forex- Nwafor

Dr Ifeanyi Nwafor, the company’s managing director who stated this in an interview in Abuja, said that the plan is to create thousands of jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths, adding that dealers were already springing up across the country.

“Each dealer will have his own installer and offices would be opened in this regard. So, SLTV is going to help in creating a lot of jobs and will also create another platform for innovations,” he said.

The businessman said Nigeria’s focus was on leading the world’s industry. He noted that the Nigerian music industry was already making waves worldwide and expressed hope that Nigeria’s indigenous pay-TV industry would also experience the same quickly.

‘’The success will bring in foreign exchange earnings for the country,’’ he said.


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How Virtual Accounts Can Help Businesses Manage Finances Efficiently

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Efficiently managing your business finances isn’t just a task, it’s the key to scaling your business for sustainable growth.

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Several tools exist today to help businesses achieve their financial management goals and establish themselves in a very competitive market.

One such tool is the virtual account, offering several benefits for multinational corporations, startups and SMEs, helping these businesses achieve their financial management goals while scaling sustainably.

In our article, “What is a virtual account and why you need it for your business,” we explained the basic concept of virtual accounts, including the types of virtual accounts, and benefits. Taking it forward with this SeerBit article, we explain the various roles that virtual accounts can play in ensuring businesses achieve efficient financial management.

  • Cash Flow Management

Virtual accounts offer a level of precision and agility that the traditional bank account does not offer businesses in today’s world. Virtual accounts give businesses more control over their funds, as they can easily segregate or compartmentalise funds for various expenses, regulate their cash flow in real-time and ensure safety for the business’ cash reserve. The ability to segregate funds for different short-term needs, such as supplier payments, tax payments, staff payments, and other long-term investments allows the company to make wiser financial decisions and ensures there will always be capital when it is needed.

  • Streamlined Reconciliation

Virtual accounts help to streamline reconciliation for your business, making the process seamless and fast by matching transactions with corresponding records for each unique virtual account. Every virtual account has a unique identifier, making it easy to match both outgoing and incoming transactions on the account with the business’ accounting records. This process is automated, consequently saving valuable time and reducing the possibility of human errors. Hence, you get accurate financial reporting in real time to make informed business decisions, thereby resolving disputes quickly and improving customer satisfaction.

  • Risk Mitigation

Virtual accounts play a crucial role in risk mitigation for businesses by providing an extra layer of security and control over financial transactions. The ability to segregate funds for specific purposes minimises the risk of mixing funds and potential misuse. Additionally, virtual accounts offer customisable access controls and permissions, allowing businesses to restrict access to authorised personnel only, thus reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorised transactions. This heightened level of security not only safeguards financial assets but also enhances trust and confidence among stakeholders, ultimately contributing to more efficient financial management practices.

  • Cost Optimisation

Virtual accounts contribute significantly to cost savings for businesses by streamlining banking operations and reducing associated fees. Through the consolidation of funds into virtual accounts, businesses can negotiate better terms with banks and optimise their banking relationships, potentially leading to reduced transaction costs and account maintenance fees. Furthermore, virtual accounts eliminate the need for maintaining multiple physical accounts, thereby reducing administrative overhead and freeing up resources for other strategic initiatives. By leveraging virtual accounts, businesses can achieve greater efficiency in their financial management processes while simultaneously lowering operational expenses, ultimately boosting their bottom line.

  • Adaptable and Scalable

Adaptability and scalability are other features of virtual accounts that make them effective for managing your business finances. They are customisable and flexible, and this allows them to adapt to whatever preferences or needs that your business has. It also means that you can configure your virtual accounts to meet specific objectives and requirements of your business. So whether you are just starting your business or already growing, virtual accounts can meet every business need at different points, even when you start to scale. This adaptability is good for your business, especially if you’re experiencing fluctuating sales volume.

Conclusion

Virtual accounts are an effective and versatile tool for your business to optimise the financial management process and enhance control and efficiency in the cash management system.

Switch to virtual accounts today!

 

 

 


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Instagram Celebrates African Women in ‘Made by Africa, Loved by the World’ 2024 Campaign

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In celebration of Africa Day on May 25, Instagram has launched its international and pan-African campaign ‘Made By Africa, Loved by the World’. In a first, this year’s Instagram campaign celebrates women of impact, spotlighting four trailblazing women from the continent and diaspora – all of whom have built a global presence through their exceptional talents and passions across sports, entertainment and music.

Now in its fourth year, the women featured in this year’s 2024 campaign hail from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and for the first time Egypt. Eniola Aluko, Bontle Modiselle, Victoria Kimani and Tasneem Elaidy tell their inspiring stories in four beautiful short films highlighting their successes, challenges and passions. Shot in collaboration with five rising filmmakers, Haya Khairat from Egypt, Michael Rodriques from South Africa, Nyasha Kadandara from Kenya and London based Nigerian Aaliyah Mckay alongside co-director Shehroze Khan, these films amplify the unique voices and stories of women who are changing the way Africa is viewed on the international stage.

As part of the campaign, Instagram is also partnering with local African content creators to host the third edition of its community challenge, ‘#ShareYourAfrica,’ bringing together emerging and established content creators to create a movement and celebrate what it means to be African.

Speaking about the campaign, Kezia Anim-Addo, Communications Director, Africa, Middle East & Turkey (AMET) at Meta, said, “For the fourth year running, we’re incredibly excited to shine a spotlight and celebrate just some of the amazing women from across the continent and beyond, who are having a remarkable impact globally. These are women who are contributing to positively shaping the female African narrative and inspiring change across football, music, entertainment and culture. At Instagram, we’re deeply rooted in culture and connection, and we know our platform provides the perfect space to showcase passions and creativity, whilst inspiring a worldwide audience.”

Meet the stars of ‘Made by Africa and Loved by the World’ 2024:

●      Bontle Modiselle (South Africa): An award-winning dancer and influential figure in the South African entertainment industry, Bontle has won numerous awards, including a ‘Africa Movie Academy Award’ and has travelled the world showcasing her impressive dance skills

●      Eniola Aluko (Nigeria): A trailblazer in women’s football whose contributions to the women’s game has made her a significant figure in the world of sports. Eniola has played for some of the world’s leading football clubs, and recently made history by becoming the first African female to make the board of Italy’s female top-flight football club FC Como Women.

●      Victoria Kimani (Kenya): A singer, songwriter and entertainer known for her distinctive blend of R&B, Afropop and Hip-Hop. Victoria has carved a successful path in the African music scene and beyond, collaborating with well-known local and global artists, and was once referred to by the Grammy Awards as ‘Kenya’s Best Kept Secret’.

●      Tasneem Elaidy (Egypt): A singer and songwriter with strong vocals whose songs have earned her international recognition, Tasneem started out on social media, releasing cover songs and original music. She went viral after releasing her version of a popular song and today, she has a growing audience of nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, 3 million on TikTok and over 100 million combined views for her music!

To view each short film, follow the four women featured on Instagram or via the Meta Africa Facebook Page.


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