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South Africa: MultiChoice Served With ICASA Complaint Ahead Of JSE Listing

A non-profit organisation has filed a complaint seeking to prevent the MultiChoice Group from listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange later this month without the approval of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

According to an interim ruling made by ICASA's Complaints and Compliance Committee on January 24, Khulisa Social Solutions has requested an opportunity to file representations with the communications regulator before MultiChoice begins trading its shares.

MultiChoice, in the meantime, has said that it does not believe that the regulator's approval is mandatory for the listing to go ahead.

In its complaint, Khulisa argued that the approval process for a licence transfer to a new listed entity would need to include the opportunity for public comment.

In September 2018, Naspers announced that it intended to list its video entertainment business separately on the JSE, and also unbundle the shares in the business to its shareholders.
This was planned for the first half of 2019, subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities.

The new company would be named the MultiChoice Group and would include MultiChoice Africa, MultiChoice South Africa, Showmax Africa, and Irdeto –a digital protection company.
In its pre-listing statement, MultiChoice said that trading in its shares was scheduled to begin on February 27.

ICASA’s committee has called the matter "clearly urgent" and declared in its interim ruling that it was taking Khulisa's complaint as a founding affidavit and had ordered MultiChoice to file an answering affidavit in response.

Jabavu Heshu, MultiChoice’s Group Executive for Corporate Affairs, told Fin 24 that MultiChoice had responded, but still did not believe that ICASA's approval was necessary for the listing to go ahead.

ICASA confirmed that it had now ordered Khulisa to file a replying affidavit, with the matter set to be heard by February 15.

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