Finally, MultiChoice, the continent’s leading payTV provider, made its debut on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Wednesday February 27, 2019, almost 5 months after the group announced its intention to list.
During their opening day, the shares were trading at 95.50 rand, giving the company a market capitalisation of 42 billion rand (US $3.03 billion). By the evening of February 27, the Multichoice stock (MCG) had risen in price and were trading at 105.04 rand, adding to opening gains.
Naspers did not raise any money from the listing with the 439 million shares instead being distributed to current Naspers shareholders on a one-for-one basis for its listed shares and one for five unlisted A class shares.
Founded 30 years ago, MultiChoice reaches around 14 million households in 50 African countries, offering both paid-TV products and a fledging streaming service called Showmax.
The company has now set its sights on the more than 25 million households in the continent that are yet to take up subscription of its various payTV offerings.
“This is a momentous time for our business… This marks the next chapter in our development and growth,” said MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela.
Towards the end of September last year, Naspers – Multichoice Africa’s parent company – announced that it’s planning to list its Video Entertainment business separately on the JSE and simultaneously unbundle the shares in the business to its shareholders. The new company would be named MultiChoice Group and include MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa (it’s video streaming unit), and Irdeto.
Commenting on the transaction, Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This marks a significant step for the Naspers Group as we continue our evolution into a global consumer internet company. Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered, top 40 JSE-listed African entertainment company.”
A statement issued by Multichoice noted that it is “providing viewers with access to content from 8 out of 10 major international studios.”
“Importantly, MCG is differentiated by its production of over 4,500 hours of local content in 10 studios across Africa. Showmax alone has 17,500 hours of content with half being local content. Furthermore, MCG offers a world of champions with over 37 sports channels providing sports fans viewership of most iconic global sport events,” the group noted.