MultiChoice Group Lists On JSE Amidst Compliance Complaint

The MultiChoice Group listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Wednesday 27 February with a market capitalisation of over $3 billion.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) issued a statement hours later saying that it is concerned about MultiChoice and Naspers going ahead with the listing when there is a pending complaint that was brought before its compliance committee.

The CEO of Naspers, Bob Van Dijk said in a statement that the listing is a very proud moment for Naspers. He added that Naspers was also pleased to be able to further create value for Phuthuma Nathi shareholders, who have through MultiChoice South Africa already participated in one of the country’s leading empowerment schemes.

Calvo Mawela, the CEO of the MultiChoice Group, issued a statement saying that the listing was a significant milestone in MultiChoice’s journey of growth.

He said that as one of the most rapidly growing pay-TV broadcast operators globally, the listing was backed by long-term growth opportunities in both revenue and subscriber numbers. He added that The MultiChoice Group has a cash-generative core and no financial debt, and will continue to deliver value to its shareholders over time.

Meanwhile, ICASA said that on 23 January 2019, Khulisa Social Group NPC (Khulisa) had filed a complaint with its complaints commission against MultiChoice in respect of the listing.

In its complaint, Khulisa had reportedly stated that the upcoming JSE listing of the Multichoice Group would result in a violation of Section 13(1) of the Electronic Communications Act 0f 2005 (ECA).

The regulation in question states that an individual licence may not be assigned or transferred to any other person without an entity first obtaining written permission from the regulator.

ICASA confirmed that MultiChoice had appeared before the complaints commission on Monday, 18 February 2019 where it argued that the complaint was not urgent and that the listing had not yet taken place at the time. MultiChoice further argued that in any case, it had no prior charges and that the complaints commission had no jurisdiction over future events.

ICASA said that it was concerned that the listing had happened while the complaints commission was still considering submissions that were made and had not yet made its final recommendations on the case to Council of the Authority.

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