Icasa grants Super5Media new licence to broadcast

Struggling pay television provider Super5Media has received the green light to proceed with its operations after the regulator approved its new shareholding last week.

However, before a new licence can be issued, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is demanding that Super5Media submit the shareholders’ agreement within 60 days, reflecting the new structure and a written undertaking that it will not contravene the foreign ownership limit of 20 percent.

Icasa’s decision to approve Super5Media’s shareholding changes and to issue it with a licence is likely to be challenged by competitors. According to analysts, Icasa was supposed to have published its decision and reasons to approve the merger before issuing a new licence.

In August last year Super5Media, which was then known as Telkom Media, was granted a licence but because Telkom sold its shares to Shenzhen Media, the company had to notify the regulator about the new shareholding so that it could be issued with a new licence.

Super5Media is 75 percent owned by Chinese-led consortium Shenzhen Media. Of that 75 percent, 80 percent is owned by Imbani Media and 20 percent by Sino-Africa DG.

Super5Media spokesman Chris van Zyl said the company had complied with all regulations in terms of the sales agreement between Telkom and Shenzhen Media and had a licence to broadcast.

Since Telkom sold its stake, there have been uncertainties as to whether Super5Media, once the market favourite to take on MultiChoice, would survive because of the impasse between Shenzhen Media and the minority shareholders.

The minority shareholders, Given Mkhari’s MSG Afrika Investments, Anant Singh’s Videovision and woman investment group WDB Group, own 25 percent in Super5Media.

Van Zyl would not comment on the shareholders’ agreement and only said that “as with all broadcasters, we comply with all stipulations” within the Electronic Communications Act.

The delay by shareholders in signing an agreement and launching the firm has seen Super5Media lose staff over the past year. The company said last month that a further 33 of its remaining 78 employees would be retrenched “to consolidate its services and maximise its flexibility”.

Super5Media media is yet to unveil its pay television products to the market. Van Zyl said the company would communicate “those plans… in the near future”.

Super5media Pay-TV – discussion

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Icasa grants Super5Media new licence to broadcast