MultiChoice to list on the JSE as Naspers eyes pay-TV exit - TechCentral

MultiChoice to list on the JSE as Naspers eyes pay-TV exit

Naspers has announced it plans to list its video entertainment business — whose assets include MultiChoice, Showmax, DStv and SuperSport — on the JSE, while at the same time unbundling the unit to shareholders.

The listing will take place in the first half of 2019, pending regulatory approvals.

The new company will be named MultiChoice Group and will include MultiChoice South Africa Holdings, MultiChoice Africa Holdings, MultiChoice Botswana, MultiChoice Namibia, NMS Insurance Services SA, the African division of Showmax, Irdeto Holdings and Irdeto South Africa.

“This marks a significant step for the Naspers Group as it continues its evolution into a global consumer Internet company,” Naspers said in a statement to shareholders.

“Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling is expected to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered, top-40 JSE-listed African entertainment company.”

In the last financial year, the business to be listed added 1.5 million subscribers, and generated revenue of R47.1-billion and trading profit of R6.1-billion. It employs more than 9 000 people across Africa.

“MultiChoice Group is expected to be unbundled with limited leverage, providing it with the necessary financial flexibility to pursue growth opportunities in African video entertainment. Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents by both GDP and population, its middle class is rapidly expanding, and the penetration of video entertainment is still relatively low,” Naspers said.

However, the decision to list and unbundle the video entertainment business comes as MultiChoice is facing serious headwinds in the form of tighter regulation in South Africa and competition from international streaming services such as Netflix, which have begun to erode its subscriber numbers in the lucrative premium segment.

“The Naspers board expects that the listing and unbundling will deliver value to the South African economy and Naspers and PN shareholders. Naspers will continue to invest in South Africa through its interests in e-commerce businesses such as Takealot, Mr D Food, PayU, OLX, Property24 and AutoTrader, among others,” it added.

Naspers will retain its primary listing on the JSE as well as its interests in Media24.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media

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