COMPANY COMMENT: Flames of suspicion make it hot for Naspers
Now might be the time for the board to throw light on who actually owns this powerful company with a contrived N and A shareholder structure
A year in which the Naspers share price has almost doubled is proving to be something of an annus horribilis for the group’s South African-based board members.Even South African citizens who are lucky winners in the Naspers-Tencent lottery appear to be among those calling for an investigation into the circumstances around MultiChoice’s payment of hundreds of millions of rand to ANN7 and the SABC. The payments were ostensibly made for the news channels of both to be carried on DStv. Even by MultiChoice’s own telling, it was not standard policy to pay for news channels. This prompts the suspicion that Naspers was up to no good; that what it wanted to do was influence government policy on the critical issue of the encryption — or not — of set-top boxes. Given that after these payments were agreed, the relevant minister dramatically overturned government policy, it seems MultiChoice didn’t influence government policy so much as set it. This follows the release a few months ago of resear...
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