French media company Groupe Canal+ appears to be cementing its footing in pay TV operator MultiChoice, after almost doubling its stake in the company in the space of a month on the back of a proposed regulation that could see it become a majority shareholder.
Canal+, a company owned by Vivendi Group, began buying up shares in MultiChoice in April, increasing its ownership to 6.5% in September, fuelling market chatter that it was priming itself to take over Africa’s largest pay TV company. Canal+ has refused to comment on where it is taking its interest in MultiChoice, only saying in a statement in September that the acquisition was a long-term investment and demonstrated its “confidence” in Multichoice and Africa’s prospects.
In the 25 years since its inception, MultiChoice has grown to become a force on the continent, growing its presence to more about 19.5 million subscribers across 50 countries, from the foundation built by M-Net and Supersport in the ‘80s. It is unclear what MultiChoice’s position is on a possible takeover, since it has opted to stay quiet beyond the communication it is expected to provide as per regulations, informing the Takeover Regulation Panel las month that Canal+’s interest had gone above the 5% threshold and that it had now gone over 10% on Thursday.