French pay-TV giant scoops up shares in DStv-owner MultiChoice

French media giant Groupe Canal+ SA has increased its stake in MultiChoice to 30.27%, the company told shareholders on Friday.

This is up from 26.26% in September 2022, when MultiChoice disclosed that Canal+ had bought a significant chunk of its ordinary shares.

Before that, Canal+ had increased its stake to 20.12% in July, up from 18.44% in June. In September 2021, Canal+ had increased its stake in the company from 12% to over 15%.

Seeing Canal+ buy up MultiChoice shares on the open market has caused speculation that Vivendi, through Canal+, could be looking to strike a deal with Africa’s pay-TV giant.

Vivendi is most likely eyeing MultiChoice Africa, which has around 12.8 million subscribers.

It tried to acquire MultiChoice Africa in 2017, but Naspers, MultiChoice’s parent company at the time, reportedly rejected the $1 billion offer.

Protea Capital Management senior investment analyst Richard Cheesman previously said they see opportunity, means, and motivation for Canal+ to buy a larger stake in MultiChoice.

“There is little geographical overlap between MultiChoice and Canal+ in Africa, and there would be many synergies from a merger such as content costs, satellite leases, and perhaps expediting the use of the MultiChoice tax losses,” Cheesman said.

“MultiChoice and Canal+ have monthly feedback meetings and have collaborated on some content. We view this as informal due diligence being done.”

In its notice on Friday, MultiChoice said it remains committed to acting in all shareholders’ best interests and creating sustainable long-term shareholder value.

“While the Group regularly engages investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders nor on its interactions with them,” it said.

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French pay-TV giant scoops up shares in DStv-owner MultiChoice