StarTimes to take over TopTV

A meeting to vote on a business rescue plan for TopTV, which included an offer by China’s StarTimes – already operating in 16 African countries – was delayed after representatives of shareholders, particularly in Canada, asked for time to consult with senior advisors.

It emerged this week that a black-owned consortium Dynamic TV, backed by a R500-million soft loan from MultiChoice  and Kenyan based Wananchi Group, backed by a US company,  submitted expressions of interest on April 24, after the business rescue plan was published on the website of On Digital Media (OMD) – the company that owns TopTV.

TopTV was placed into “business rescue” under the Companies Act in October 2012.

StartTimes started developing its African markets in 2002, and was issued the first digital TV operator licence by Rwanda in 2007.

Currently the group operates in 10 African countries including Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Republic of central Africa, Guinea and Kenya.

ODM creditors and shareholders were told at a meeting in Sandton on Tuesday that Wananchi – which offers a triple-play product of broadband, pay-TV and voice-over-internet protocol services in markets in East Africa – has submitted a proposal to invest in and turn around the company.

The consortium comprises of Dynamic TV businessperson and MSG Afrika’s Given Mkhari and Malose Kekana of Falk Trading. MSG already owns other media assets, including radio station Capricorn FM and shares in companies like the Jupiter Drawing Room.

It has been made clear that a buyout of the company is the only way to save TopTV. If it is allowed to go into liquidation, the only shareholder to be paid out would be the Development Bank of South Africa, who lent R200-million to the pay-TV company. The other shareholders, including Industrial Development Corporation, would receive no money.

Source: Mail & Guardian

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StarTimes to take over TopTV