Multichoice extends Chairman Imtiaz Patel’s tenure to conclude Canal+ deal

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The Board of Multichoice Group announced they have agreed to extend the tenure of the company’s Chairman, Imtiaz Patel for him to spearhead the conclusion of the ongoing buyout deal with French media conglomerate Groupe Canal+.

In September last year, the DStv owner announced that Patel would be stepping down; with Elias Masilela set to take over as chair from 1 April 2024, according to mairametrics.

However, the company said in a notice to its shareholders on Tuesday that Patel would remain chairman until the completion of the ongoing Canal+ transaction, while Masilela, a long-standing non-executive director and the designated chairman, would become the deputy chairman of the MultiChoice Board.

The Multichoice Board in the notice to shareholders said, “Given of the recent ruling by the Takeover Regulation Panel (“TRP”) that required Groupe Canal+ SA (“Canal+”) to make an immediate mandatory offer to all MultiChoice shareholders (“the transaction”) and the cautionary SENS notice issued on 5 March 2024 in this regard, the MultiChoice Board has reached an agreement with Mr Imtiaz Patel to remain on as Chair.

“The Board believes that there is significant benefit in continuity at this time and Mr Patel has agreed to extend his tenure until the conclusion of the Canal+ transaction or such sooner date as may be determined in light of progress on the transaction.

“Effective 1 April 2024, Mr. Elias Masilela, a long-standing non-executive director (NED) and the designated Chair, will become the Deputy Chair of the MultiChoice Board. He will also become Lead Independent Director (LID) in the place of Mr. Jim Volkwyn, who will be stepping down as LID but remain as a NED.

“The Board expresses its gratitude to Mr Patel for extending his tenure and to Mr Masilela for taking on the new roles on the Board. It also wishes to thank Mr Volkwyn for his service as LID and as the Chair of the Remuneration Committee – his dedication, leadership, and tireless efforts have been invaluable to the Company.”

It cited the recent decision of the Takeover Regulation Panel as the reason for this decision.

Canal+, led by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, proposed 105 rand per share in cash, presenting a 40% premium to MultiChoice’s recent closing price. This move aligns with Vivendi’s strategy to merge Canal+’s local operations with MultiChoice, creating a conglomerate with nearly 50 million subscribers.

However, MultiChoice refused to accept the offer due to its undervaluation of the company’s shares at R105 a share. The rejection was communicated to shareholders, highlighting MultiChoice’s opposition to the acquisition terms.

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