Business / #ForbesBusiness

March 7, 2019,   1:17 PM

Africa’s Top Pay-TV Group, Multichoice, Tops $3 Billion On JSE Debut

Abisola Owolawi

I write about business, entrepreneurship, innovation, wealth and culture with a focus on global impact. Innovative, groundbreaking ideas and the structures that drive them over time, inform my subject choices. I cover industries that span manufacturing, service, technology, entertainment, healthcare and aviation among others, across Africa for Forbes Middle East. I have previously worked as Forbes Africa’s West Africa Correspondent, a wealth contributor on the annual Forbes rich list and as a CNBC Africa business contributor. FULL BIO

multichoice ceo calvo mawela at the jse listing 002

Multichoice CEO Calvo Mawela at the JSE listing.

Shares in Africa’s biggest pay-TV group, Multichoice, leapt 16% on its recent market debut, earning the video entertainment business a place on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s top-40 index of the biggest listed companies.

Multichoice, a spin-off from e-commerce giant, Naspers’ shares opened at R95.50, giving the company a market capitalisation of $3.03 billion (R42 billion).

Naspers’ spin-off decision was made on the heels of pressure to find ways to narrow a valuation discount between its market value and a one-third stake in Chinese internet group, Tencent. The company also saw an opportunity to focus on its global internet operations, including online food deliveries and classifieds.

The listed group, which will trade under the share code MCG, includes Multichoice South Africa, Multichoice Africa Holdings, Showmax and global digital platform security provider, Irdeto.

Operating in one of the fastest growing continents by population, with a rapidly expanding middle class, Naspers had announced in September 2018, its intention to list its video entertainment business.

Multichoice’s Group CEO, Calvo Mawela, sees newer opportunities on the horizon. “As one of the fastest growing pay-TV broadcast providers globally, our strong financial position at listing is backed by attractive long-term growth opportunities in both subscriber numbers and revenue. Multichoice Group has a highly cash -generative core with no financial debt and we are poised to deliver value to our shareholders over time,” he says.

Multichoice’s self-sufficiency, which aided Naspers’ evolution into one of the world’s most prominent e-commerce players, will prove useful in a highly competitive market where players like Netflix, HULU & Amazon Prime enjoy growing dominance.


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