MultiChoice chairman resigns with immediate effect

MultiChoice chairman Imtiaz Patel is stepping down with immediate effect and is being replaced by Elias Masilela.

This comes three weeks after MultiChoice announced that Patel’s resignation had been put on hold so he could preside over negotiations with French media giant Groupe Canal+.

Canal+ was compelled to make a mandatory offer to buy MultiChoice earlier this year when it exceeded the 35% shareholding threshold stipulated in the Companies Act.

MultiChoice had announced in September last year that Patel would step down on 1 April 2024.

He would remain involved as a consultant to MultiChoice until October 2028.

Business Times recently reported that MultiChoice’s last-minute decision to extend Patel’s tenure had caused rifts at the company.

However, MultiChoice said the decision was unanimous. It also noted that Patel would not receive any additional fees he wouldn’t otherwise have.

Patel declined to comment, referring queries to MultiChoice, while Masilela said he supported the decision.

In the notice issued on 2 April — after a board meeting on 28 March — MultiChoice’s board said it believed there was significant benefit in continuity at this time.

“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 transaction,” it said.

However, in today’s notice, MultiChoice said the plan was always for Patel to step down once certain milestones were reached.

“At the time of announcement of 2 April 2024, discussions were in their final stages on key terms of the proposed transaction,” it said.

These culminated when MultiChoice and Canal+ entered into a cooperation agreement on 7 April 2024 and issued an announcement of firm intention the following day.

MultiChoice confirmed that Patel would remain involved with the group as a consultant as per the original announcement of his resignation on 11 September 2023.

MyBroadband asked MultiChoice whether, with the benefit of hindsight, it would go back and explain this more clearly and avoid all the negative press from its 2 April notice.

It said it would not because there are regulatory processes involved requiring that things be done according to a set protocol.

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MultiChoice chairman resigns with immediate effect