Canal+ eyes MultiChoice for $1.6b

February 2, 2024
5 min read
MultiChoice's building

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Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Canal+ to acquire MultiChoice for $1.6b
  • CBN scraps exchange rate crap
  • Airtel to launch a $100m buyback share porogramme

Canal+'s plan to acquire MultiChoice for $1.6b

MultiChoice's building

Canal+, a French media company, is considering acquiring MultiChoice for R31.7 billion ($1.6 billion).

It’s dangling a tempting offer of R105 ($5.6) per share, a 40% premium over MultiChoice's recent closing share price.

What makes this proposed deal even more interesting is that Canal+ already owns 31.7% of MultiChoice, steadily growing its stake despite South African regulations throwing hurdles at foreign ownership of local broadcasters.

This acquisition plan comes hot on the heels of Comcast — the parent company of NBCUniversal and Sky — grabbing a 30% slice of MultiChoice in 2023. That move paved the way for NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service to cosy up with the New Showmax platform.

Well, there's always a but: Canal+ might hit a regulatory roadblock due to South African rules, particularly the Electronic Communication Act of 2005. 

The Act puts a leash on foreign control of commercial broadcasting licences and ownership shares. However, whispers in the wind say South Africa might loosen the reins, with a proposed 49% increase in the limit on foreign ownership.

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Canal+ is optimistic, stating that a partnership with MultiChoice would pave the way for success and provide MultiChoice with a solid future.

And guess what? MultiChoice is not sitting still; the South African payTV provider is dropping an extra $89 million into its streaming video platform, Showmax, by March 31, 2024.

CBN scraps exchange rate crap

CBN building
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. [PHOTO CREDIT: Ehud Kaduna]

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has shaken things up by scrapping the cap on exchange rates set for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

So, what's the deal? IMTOs can now quote exchange rates based on market conditions rather than a predetermined range, as was previously the case. This means that rates are no longer limited to the old range of -2.5% to +2.5% and can vary according to supply and demand.

With this action, Nigeria aims to address its foreign exchange issues and the fluctuating exchange rates.

The CBN intends to increase competition and transparency while also attempting to increase the amount of foreign exchange that enters Nigeria by allowing IMTOs to quote rates at the whim of the market.

In short, instead of using fixed caps, IMTOs can now set rates based on the "willing seller, willing buyer" principle.

But there's more to it. This move could also help tackle Nigeria's forex liquidity issues. By encouraging IMTOs to bring more forex into the country, the CBN aims to increase liquidity and even level out those exchange rate fluctuations.

Instead of storing the currency abroad, this move encourages these operators to bring more into Nigeria. Good news for Nigerians living abroad who want to send money home: rates may be closer to those on the black market.

Airtel to launch a $100m buyback share programme

Airtel Africa

Airtel Africa has announced a $100 million share buyback programme! Starting in March 2024 and going on for over a year, it plans to buy back its shares.

Why? Olusegun Ogunsanya, Airtel Africa CEO, credits the company’s outstanding performance for this move. We’ll get there in a bit.

But before then, what’s a share buyback? Imagine Airtel telling shareholders, "Hey, we want your shares back!" They buy them, cancel them out, and bam, fewer Airtel shares floating around.

This means the remaining shareholders will receive a larger share of the pie and possibly more money in the future. It's Airtel taking control of its destiny!

Ogunsanya remains optimistic, saying that the company will continue to focus on increasing margins despite challenges such as high diesel prices and currency volatility.

Despite the Naira's currency rollercoaster ride in Nigeria, Airtel is sticking to its growth strategy. Per a press release detailing results for the nine months ending December 31, 2023, its customer base grew by 9.1% to 151.2 million.

Mobile data and money services also experienced rapid growth, with data subscribers reaching 62.7 million (a 22.4% increase) and mobile money users reaching 37.5 million (a 19.5% increase).

Wait, there is more good news: It’s raking in the cash with a 20.2% revenue increase across the region. And what about its annual mobile money transactions? A jaw-dropping $116 billion!

The company also plans to wipe out its HoldCo debt of $550 million by May 2024. While it didn't state how it'll achieve that, I guess time will tell.

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching


  • Kenyan startups focused on embedded finance, future fintech, SME productivity tools, and content like local gaming and mobile advertising can apply for Safaricom’s Spark Accelerator programme. For more information, check this out.
  • The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is looking for an editor to support the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. Apply here.
  • Application for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Class of 2025 is now open. Check out the one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship here before March 18, 2023.
  • Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
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Have a fun weekend!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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